February 3, 2022
President Joe Biden’s ambitious “Cancer Moonshot” relaunch will not only prevent deaths, it could also significantly improve the quality of life of those who survive cancer, experts say.
At the heart of Biden’s reignited initiative, announced Wednesday, is a lofty goal to reduce the mortality rate by at least 50 percent over the next 25 years of a disease that is expected to kill 609,360 people in the United States in 2022 alone.
That could mean millions more cancer survivors — a group that can face long-term health struggles. And Biden’s plan includes a focus on enhancing the experience of surviving cancer, news that was welcomed by oncologists, patient advocates and researchers.
“We’re not going to eradicate cancer. That isn’t going to happen. But we will manage it better,” said Gloria Petersen, a professor of epidemiology at the Mayo Clinic who has researched pancreatic cancer, one of the deadliest types of cancer, for more than two decades.
“What we like to think is it will not be considered a fatal, lethal disease. It will become a chronic disease,” she added. “So the attention on survivorship is really critical.”