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Flint Local NewsFlint Mayor Neeley announced a city resolution to commit $50,000 towards multi-cancer...

Flint Mayor Neeley announced a city resolution to commit $50,000 towards multi-cancer early detection screening in Flint

Flint, Michigan – Late last month, the National Minority Quality Forum (NMQF) and the CEO Roundtable on Cancer (CEORT) held an important press conference in Washington D.C. They shared a detailed report they’ve given to the Cancer Moonshot team at the White House Office of Technology. The report, named Cancer Moonshot, Public Policy, and Medically Underserved Cancer Care Communities, warns about the big differences in cancer risk, checks, cases, and deaths in communities across the U.S. that don’t get appropriate medical care.

The report points out worrying facts about how laws and rules affect cancer results. It says that 56% of racial and ethnic minority groups live close to places that make cancer-causing waste. This makes people living in these communities more likely to get cancer, highlighting a big issue of environmental fairness that needs quick action.

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Black, Hispanic, Asian, and AIAN (American Indian and Alaska Native) groups are not getting screened for cancer as much because of many obstacles. This leads to finding out about cancer later, which makes it hard for these people to get the care and treatment they need quickly.

“Our report calls attention to two stark realities. First, historically marginalized populations often live and work in environments where toxicants in the air, water, and soil elevate their risk for cancer. Secondly, in the very communities where public policy has elevated the risk for cancer through exposure to hazardous waste, public policy has also denied them access to the best modern cancer care. We echo President Biden’s call to action and emphasize that achieving the vision of the Cancer Moonshot requires urgent and sustained attention to cancer disparities. Today, in partnership with the CEO Roundtable on Cancer and in alignment with the White House, NMQF announces a groundbreaking multi-year, multi-state initiative,” said Dr. Gary A. Puckrein, NMQF President and CEO.

“While this report illustrates the troubling prevalence of disparities in cancer prevention, diagnosis, and treatment, it also tells us where we need to focus our efforts. By joining with both national partners and local communities, we can move one step closer to eliminating cancer as a personal disease and public health problem,” said MaryLisabeth Rich, President of CEO Roundtable on Cancer.

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The press event also had a live video feed from Flint, Michigan, with appearances by U.S. Congressman Dan Kildee, Flint’s Mayor Sheldon Neeley, and community members from Houston, Texas.

Flint and Houston are two communities with a lot of minority residents that have faced big environmental dangers and an increase in cancer cases. In 2020, health officials in Michigan reported that Flint was seeing more poverty and fewer people living there, along with much higher rates of cancer in some parts of the city.Top of Form

Last year, MDHSS announced a three-year environmental epidemiology cancer study for the city of Flint.

“Communities like mine have suffered for far too long from poor access to basic health care services, like cancer screenings. That’s why I’m working to pass legislation that would close the gap and expand access to preventative healthcare services. I look forward to working alongside the National Minority Quality Forum to make Flint a healthier and stronger place for all,” said Congressman Dan Kildee (D-MI).

Flint Mayor Neeley announced a city resolution to commit $50,000 towards multi-cancer early detection screening in Flint.

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“I lost my mother to breast cancer in 2022, and I experienced with her firsthand the realities of navigating a healthcare system that isn’t necessarily designed to serve you. We know that nationwide, barriers to accessing cancer screening have deadly consequences in communities like Flint. We are seeing widening health disparities as more Black and Brown men especially are diagnosed with cancer too late and are dying as a result. In Flint, we have introduced a first allocation to help our most vulnerable community members access cancer screenings, with more work to come,” said Flint Mayor Sheldon Neeley.

In Houston’s Fifth Ward, a neighborhood with a majority of Black residents, there’s an identified area with a high number of cancer cases, known as a cancer cluster. The city decided to spend $5 million to help people move away from an area with polluted groundwater.

John Whitmire, the Mayor of Houston, highlighted how important the partnership with the Biden Administration’s Moonshot program is. This partnership aims to work together with the White House to bring health services, like cancer checks and tests, to the Fifth Ward.

Council Member Letitia Plummer from Houston shared her encouragement by the commitment from the Biden Administration. She pointed out the focus on not just screening and testing for cancer, but also tackling the bigger problem of environmental injustice. She looks forward to working with the administration to help the Fifth Ward’s residents.

To deal with these critical issues, NMQF and CEORT have laid out a detailed strategy to tackle the cancer crisis. NMQF will expand a partnership between the private sector and the government through its Cancer Stage Shifting Initiative, aiming to bring resources to 10 communities with mostly minority populations across the country.

This plan is designed to improve cancer prevention, early detection, and treatment in these at-risk groups.

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Employees from different areas on federal, state, and local government, drug companies, health insurance firms, cancer specialists, and community supporters spoke at the press conference. This joint effort shows the need for cooperation across different sectors to solve the complex problems minority groups face with cancer care.

“Cancer affects all of us, but the disease has a notably greater impact on communities of color. As a practicing oncologist, I see the importance of early cancer detection in each of my patients and know that working with the NMQF can help us achieve the White House’s goal of cutting cancer deaths in half through early detection, especially in vulnerable communities,” said Tom Beer, MD, Chief Medical Officer, Multi-Cancer Early Detection, Exact Sciences and Adjunct Professor of Medicine at the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute.

“Sanofi proudly stands with NMQF, our longstanding partner, in fostering cancer care equity for all. Recognizing that cancer patients may be especially vulnerable to vaccine-preventable disease, we’re committed to being part of the public-private partnership alliance, advocating immunization in cancer patients, especially in medically underserved communities,” said Dr. Michael Greenberg, North America Medical Head of Vaccines, Sanofi.

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“Taking a collaborative approach to advancing health equity and centering the needs of historically underserved communities is necessary to improving health outcomes. At Genentech, we are working closely with cross-sector stakeholders from policymakers to community-based organizations, so that together, we can make meaningful progress towards eliminating health inequities for all,” said Kathleen Maignan, MSN, AGPCNP-BC, RN, Medical Executive Director, Genentech.

“Hessian Labs is proud to support NMQF and CEORT’s Cancer Stage Shifting Initiative in underserved communities with its novel molecular diagnostic technologies,” said Darrol Roberts, Co-founder & CEO, Hessian Labs.

This initiative aligns with the broader goals of President Biden’s Cancer Moonshot team and calls for a concerted effort from all stakeholders to eliminate disparities and achieve equitable outcomes in cancer prevention and treatment. By leveraging the power of partnerships, NMQF aims to make tangible strides toward reducing the disproportionate burden of cancer on minoritized populations.