Today, as we recognize World Cancer Day across the globe, it is important to remember the many lives affected by cancer and to think about how each of us can help combat this disease that has or will touch all of us in some way.
Cancer is the second-leading cause of death worldwide.
One of the things we can all do individually is to be vigilant and consistent with our routine cancer screenings. Early detection is a key to improving outcomes for patients. Unfortunately, as we have reported before, COVID led many to postpone or skip mammograms, colonoscopies and other screening tests. Early indications are that this has already led to cancers being caught at a more advanced stage than before the pandemic. This means patients may have to undergo treatments they might not have needed otherwise and the treatments may be less successful.
Screenings are especially important as we age, since growing older is the biggest single risk for cancer. As we’ve said before, while we are all trying to stay home and stay safe this year, seniors simply can’t afford to miss screenings that can detect cancer in its earliest stages. These screenings save lives, and you can be assured that medical professionals have developed protocols to ensure that you can safely get these tests now.
The second thing we can do is to support efforts that bring us additional hope in the fight against cancer. Big advances are in development that will make it easier to detect many kinds of cancer, not just the five kinds of cancer that we currently have routine screenings to detect.
Specifically, we have seen exciting news about new multi-cancer early detection tests that have the ability to detect many cancers with a single blood draw. These tests would allow us to diagnose many cancers before patients show symptoms and when they have a better chance of beating the disease. A bipartisan group in Congress is already working to ensure that these tests will be covered by Medicare, and that is good news for seniors across the U.S.
On this World Cancer Day, we encourage you to stay up to date with screenings that are currently available and to join the chorus supporting technology that will greatly improve our ability to detect cancer early.
Please participate in World Cancer Day via social media using #IAmAndIWill #WorldCancerDay.