Cancer PreventionWorks March 2022

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Issue: March 2022


FOUNDATION NEWS Foundation Highlights

IN THE WORLD OF CANCER Back on the Books survey results Tackling health disparities with Eastern Maine Medical Center

PREVENTIVE MEASURES AND GENERAL WELLNESS Ernie Hudson, two-time cancer survivor, shows how parents can be heroes Narrowing the knowledge gap with breast health education Updated lung cancer screening guidelines

SCREENING SPOTLIGHT Colorectal cancer screening from the comfort of home

ADVOCACY NEWS New guidance from Biden administration expands coverage for follow-up colonoscopies Transforming cancer detection

MAKE A DIFFERENCE Join a community of change

FOUNDER’S CORNER Dear Readers, Two years ago this month, the coronavirus pandemic reached the U.S., and many lives were put on pause. As restrictions are lifted and we prepare to hit the play button, it’s critical we prioritize our health care routines and reschedule cancelled or missed doctor appointments. March is also the month we shine a spotlight on colorectal cancer, which is one of the most preventable of cancers—and a leading cause of cancer-related deaths. In 1999, the Prevent Cancer Foundation led the charge to have March designated as National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month by Congress and the White House. Although overall numbers are going in the right direction (down!), they are increasing in younger adults. Far too many Americans are still dying of this highly preventable disease. Screening saves lives, and we urge you to get your colorectal cancer screening and all your routine cancer screening appointments Back on the Books. Together, we can dare to imagine a world where no one dies of cancer.

Carolyn Aldigé Founder

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FOUNDATION HIGHLIGHTS PREVENT CANCER DIALOGUE In 2021, the virtual Prevent Cancer Dialogue had more than 800 registrants from 49 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, several American Indian/ Alaska Native organizations and 10 other countries. The three-part webinar series focused on topics such as innovations in cancer prevention and early detection and progress and challenges in cancer screenings. The 2022 Prevent Cancer Dialogue will be returning in person on June 9-10 in Arlington, Virginia! Learn more about this year’s event on page 14. PREVENT CANCER GALA After shifting to a virtual format in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, the 2021 Prevent Cancer Foundation Gala welcomed guests in person at the National Building Museum in the District of Columbia. The 2021 Gala took place on December 1 and paid homage to the Republic of Korea with its theme, Season of Splendor. More than $2 million was raised, the most in the event’s 27-year history! Proceeds from the Gala directly support cancer prevention and early detection through the Foundation’s programs, including research grants and fellowships and community outreach grants, as well as the Foundation’s public education campaigns, such as the “Back on the Books” campaign that reminds everyone to reschedule their postponed or cancelled routine cancer screenings. AWESOME GAMES DONE QUICK The annual livestreamed video game marathon, Awesome Games Done Quick (AGDQ), took place from January 9 to 16 and raised funds for the Prevent Cancer Foundation. The event brought together all-star gamers from around the world to speedrun—play as fast as possible—their favorite games. This year’s event raised a total of $3.4 million, the most that has been raised at an event in the history of Games Done Quick. In more than a decade supporting the Prevent Cancer Foundation, Games Done Quick has raised more than $20 million to fund research, technology and community grants both in the U.S. and internationally, as well as cancer prevention and early detection education and outreach.


BACK ON THE BOOKS SURVEY RESULTS The latest survey from the Prevent Cancer Foundation shows an alarming trend of Americans continuing to miss their routine medical appointments and cancer screenings. While the Foundation’s previous survey in May 2021 showed more people making it to their appointments compared to December 2020, these gains have now been erased for certain age groups and demographics, likely a result of the highly contagious omicron variant that emerged at the end of 2021. Holding steady from earlier findings, one-half of Americans who had a scheduled inperson medical appointment, missed postponed and/or cancelled one or more of these appointments. Some other areas of concern include: •

Nearly two in five (39%) adults ages 55 and older who had an appointment scheduled during the pandemic missed it. This is an increase from 34% in May 2021. Screening is important at all ages, but the likelihood of developing cancer increases greatly with age. 80% of the people diagnosed with cancer in the U.S. are 55 years of age or older and 57% are 65 or older.*

Minorities are most likely to be missing their appointments: » There was a significant increase in the number of Native Americans who missed appointments as a result of the pandemic (30% in December 2020, 34% in May 2021 and 43% in January 2022). » Out of all ethnicities surveyed, Hispanics (46%) were the most likely to miss a scheduled appointment.

One in two (50%) adults ages 18-34 is significantly more likely to have still not caught up on all missed appointments (compared to 36% in December 2020 and 45% in May 2021).

One in five (20%) females or trans-males missed their mammogram appointments due to the pandemic (compared to 17% of females in May 2021). This overall increase in missed mammograms was driven by a significant increase among adults ages 55 and older (15% in December 2020, 20% in May 2021 and 32% in January 2022).

It’s time to get your appointments Back on the Books. Learn more or find a health care provider and schedule an appointment at *American Cancer Society. Cancer Facts & Figures 2022. Atlanta: American Cancer Society; 2022. 3


TACKLING HEALTH DISPARITIES WITH EASTERN MAINE MEDICAL CENTER Our first-ever community grantee in Maine, Eastern Maine Medical Center (EMMC), runs a health equity project that provides breast cancer education and screening to economically vulnerable people who live in rural areas and to members of the LGBTQ+ community. Maine has a higher incidence of female breast cancer than the national average, seen especially among Maine’s rural and LGBTQ+ populations. “We are so thankful for the support of the Prevent Cancer Foundation of our project,” says philanthropy manager Kimberly Boucher. “Funding supports patient outreach efforts to reduce the backlog of primary care patients, particularly those from rural areas of Maine and those that identify as LGBTQ+, who are not current with their annual mammograms due to delays caused by the pandemic.” Medical center staff, in collaboration with other local organizations, have already reached more than 2,000 individuals with mammography screening services and patient navigation. With these efforts, this project has directly impacted the workflow and behaviors of frontline primary care staff in the medical center. With six months still to go on the project, its impact has already been seen as a major step toward increasing patients’ breast cancer screening rates, and EMMC is hoping to one day replicate these changes to support increasing screenings for other cancer types. EMMC is one of 11 remarkable organizations the Prevent Cancer Foundation is working with over the next year to ensure more equitable access to cancer prevention and early detection across all communities. Despite the many challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, these organizations have continued to reach people in their communities with cancer education and screening. Since 2007, the Prevent Cancer Foundation has awarded more than $2 million in grants for cancer prevention education, screening and vaccination projects across 37 states, tribes and territories. Our grants program focuses on addressing health disparities in medically underserved communities across the country across several cancer types. The 2022 Community Grants cycle is open and we look forward to funding even more projects! To view 2022 guidelines and application process, visit

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Ernie Hudson is well known for being an actor in the cult classic Ghostbusters, but few people know Hudson is also a two-time cancer survivor. Now Hudson is lending his star power to get out the message about the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, which can prevent at least six types of cancer. Hudson, now cancer-free, is spreading awareness that many cancers are preventable through HPV vaccination. Hudson says, “It’s important to me that people know this issue is serious, but prevention is possible. As a two-time cancer survivor, I’m proud to be working with the Prevent Cancer Foundation to help bring awareness to the link between certain viruses and cancer. Bringing awareness to the HPV vaccine and its ability to prevent at least six types of cancer is truly stopping cancer before it starts. As a dad, there is nothing I wouldn’t do to protect my kids from cancer. Every parent needs to know there is an HPV vaccine that can protect your kids from cancer. Getting tested for cancer saved my life—getting your son or daughter vaccinated could save theirs. Be a hero and get your kids the HPV vaccine.” HPV is a very common virus. The HPV vaccine can be given as early as age nine and is recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for all boys and girls 11-12 years of age as a two-dose series. Teens and young adults who start the series later, at age 15 or older, will need three doses of the HPV vaccine. Be a hero and talk to your child’s doctor today about this cancer prevention vaccine. For more information, visit 5


NARROWING THE KNOWLEDGE GAP WITH BREAST HEALTH EDUCATION The Prevent Cancer Foundation is committed to narrowing the knowledge gap on cancer prevention. To meet people where they are, the Foundation has created cancer prevention materials that are culturally and linguistically appropriate. Since 2008, the Foundation has provided the Breast Health Education for Young Women Facilitator’s Guide (Guia de Educación sobre la salud de los senos para mujeres jóvenes) free of charge to educate young women about breast health and breast cancer. At a time when health disparities have worsened due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the guide has an important role to play in promoting breast health, especially for women of color, who may face disparities in screening, diagnosis and mortality. This user-friendly guide is designed to increase knowledge about breast health and breast cancer in interactive, skillsbased group sessions—whether in person or virtual—and to encourage informationsharing with older female relatives who are age-appropriate for screening. It has been used in communities far and wide to spread information about breast health and breast cancer to all young people with breasts, including those who are cisgender, transgender, gender-fluid and gendernonconforming. Since its launch in 2008, the guide has been downloaded by more than 13,000 individuals in 60 countries, as well as people in all 50 states, 5 U.S. territories and D.C. The guide has mainly been used in educational and community settings by health professionals as well 6 Cancer PreventionWorks: March 2022

as by community advocates. Examples of organizations across the U.S. and around the globe that have downloaded the guide include:


• Southern Plains Tribal Health Board (Oklahoma City, OK) • Union Temple Baptist Church Womanhood Training Program (Washington, DC) • West Virginia Health Right Free & Charitable Clinic (Charleston, WV) • Winslow Indian Health Care Center (Winslow, AZ) • YWCA (San Antonio, TX; White Plains, NY; Princeton, NJ)


• CARE Malawi (Malawi) • Dhulikhel Hospital Kathmandu University Hospital (Nepal) • Shiraz University of Medical Sciences (Iran) • Tanzania Breast Cancer Foundation (Tanzania) • XinTu Center for Community Health Promotion (China)

Join these breast health advocates and download your free copy of the Breast Health Education for Young Women Facilitator’s Guide at preventcancer. org/breasthealthguide, or email pcf@ to receive a free printed copy today.


UPDATED LUNG CANCER SCREENING GUIDELINES Adults ages 50 to 80 who have a 20 pack-year smoking history and currently smoke or have quit within the past 15 years should be screened annually for lung cancer. This is according to the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), which issued a “B” grade with this updated (as of March 2021) recommendation. Under the Affordable Care Act, most insurance companies must cover screening services given an “A” or “B” grade from the USPSTF. These updated lung cancer screening guidelines included an expanded age range (previously screening was recommended beginning at age 55) and reduced packyear history (previously 30 pack-years). By lowering the eligible screening age and smoking criteria, the USPSTF has effectively expanded screening access to millions more smokers or former smokers. According to The Washington Post, this change means that 15 million people will now be eligible for lung cancer screening. If you qualify for lung cancer screening, your health care provider will recommend testing with low-dose computed tomography, also called a low-dose CT scan. During your appointment, you will lie down on a table and may be asked to hold your breath for about 20 seconds as a scanning machine uses a low amount of radiation to produce detailed images of your lungs. The entire procedure is painless and should only take a few minutes to complete. There’s no major preparation required for a lung cancer screening, but please note that you’ll need to remove any metal you’re wearing, including glasses, hairpins, jewelry, hearing aids and dentures. For this reason, you may want to avoid wearing clothes with metal buttons or snaps or a bra with underwire. Additionally, let your care provider know if you have a respiratory tract infection; they may want to reschedule your scan to avoid detecting any infection-related abnormalities. As with other cancers, early detection of lung cancer is crucial for the best possible outcomes. Lung cancer screening of high-risk individuals can reduce lung cancer mortality by at least 20%, as indicated by the National Lung Screening Trial. By the time lung cancer signs and symptoms appear, curative treatment may not be an option. If you fit the new criteria for lung cancer screening, talk with your health care provider about the potential benefits and limitations so you can make an informed decision. 7


COLORECTAL CANCER SCREENING FROM THE COMFORT OF HOME The pandemic has affected all aspects of public life, from work to play and everything in between. While the vaccine has given people more confidence to resume regular activities and appointments, new variants have many Americans hesitant to leave their homes again—even for something as vital as a cancer screening. Colorectal cancer is the third-leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States and almost always develops from precancerous polyps in the colon or rectum. The good news is that screening can lead to early detection of these abnormal growths, allowing for removal of polyps before cancer develops or for cancer treatment in early stages, when it is most likely to be successful. However, 25% of adults have not been screened for colorectal cancer beginning at age 45, as recommended by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. Fortunately, colonoscopies aren’t your only option: Asymptomatic, average-risk Americans may consider an at-home colorectal cancer screening test. WHAT IS IT? There are two types of at-home colorectal cancer screening tools: stool DNA tests check for blood as well as DNA changes in cells, which could indicate cancer or precancerous conditions; and fecal immunochemical tests (FITs) check for hidden blood in stool. HOW DOES IT WORK? You use a kit to collect stool samples at home and then send them to a laboratory where they are tested. For stool DNA tests, you’ll need to pack a full specimen on ice and ship it on the same day you collect it; FITs require a stool sample “smear” on a card. If you receive a positive result with either test, you’ll likely need a colonoscopy. HOW OFTEN SHOULD I TEST? Stool DNA testing should be repeated every three years, while FITs should be repeated annually. (Colonoscopies, on the other hand, are typically repeated every 10 years.) IS IT RELIABLE? In a 2014 study published in American Family Physician, researchers found that fecal DNA testing was 92% sensitive and 87% specific, whereas FIT was 74% sensitive and 95% specific. What’s the bottom line? Colonoscopies are still the best option for cancer prevention, as your provider can identify precancerous polyps before they turn into cancer and remove them in the same procedure. However, at-home tests are a great option when you’re working to get your regular screenings back on the books or for those who can’t or won’t get colonoscopies.

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25% of adults have not been screened for colorectal cancer beginning at age 45, as recommended by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.

Continued on page 10

ADMINISTRATION UPDATE On January 10, 2022, the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services and the Treasury collectively issued guidance requiring private insurers to cover colonoscopies when needed as a follow-up to a stool DNA test or FITs. Health plans must provide this coverage without cost-sharing for plan years beginning on or after May 31, 2022. Contact your insurer for your specific coverage. 9


REDUCE YOUR RISK As with most cancers, age is a risk factor for colorectal cancer, but colorectal cancer is on the rise among adults under age 50. However, there are lifestyle factors that could also increase your risk for colorectal cancer. Take these steps to improve your health and reduce your cancer risk: ✦ Exercise at least 30 minutes, at least 5 days a week. ✦ Eat lots of fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains. ✦ Eat less red meat and cut out processed meat. ✦ Maintain a healthy weight and waist size. ✦ Limit alcohol intake. If you drink, limit your drinking to no more than one drink a day if you are a woman and no more than one or two a day if you are a man. The more you drink, the greater your risk of cancer. Even drinking small amounts might increase your risk. ✦ Never smoke. If you do, quit. (For help, call 1-800-QUITNOW.) ✦ Get screened according to guidelines.

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NEW GUIDANCE FROM BIDEN ADMINISTRATION EXPANDS COVERAGE FOR FOLLOW-UP COLONOSCOPIES On January 10, 2022 the Department of Labor, Health and Human Services and the Treasury collectively issued guidance requiring private insurers to cover colonoscopies when needed as a followup to a non-invasive colorectal cancer screening test. This new guidance will ensure that insurers and plans are required to cover a follow-up colonoscopy, without cost-sharing, if there are indications of colon-related bleeding, for all people ages 45 and older. Health plans must provide this coverage without cost-sharing for plan years beginning on or after May 31, 2022. If your health insurance plan has a start date which begins prior to May 31, 2022, check with your insurer, because they may not include this coverage until next year. The new guidance does not apply to individuals who have coverage through traditional Medicaid and Medicare plans. Leading cancer advocacy organizations are working to further expand this coverage so that all individuals who need a colonoscopy can access one, without cost-sharing.

Despite preventive screening options, colorectal cancer remains the second leading cancer killer in the United States. In 2018, only 68.8% of those eligible were screened for colorectal cancer. The COVID-19 pandemic made this problem worse, as colorectal cancer screenings declined by 86% during the first few months of the pandemic. The Prevent Cancer Foundation encourages you to start screening at age 45 if you’re at an average risk, but if you have certain risk factors, you may need to start screening sooner or get screened more often. Talk to your health care professional. The good news is that colorectal cancer is “preventable, treatable and beatable.” Because most colorectal cancer cases start as precancerous polyps, getting screened is the most effective way to reduce your risk. Visit to learn more about colorectal cancer in adults under 50.

GET PERSONAL WITH YOUR ADVOCACY! Encourage friends and family to get screened for colorectal cancer with a Too Young for This Sh*t t-shirt. All proceeds go toward our mission of saving lives across all populations through cancer prevention and early detection. Available for purchase at: 11


TRANSFORMING CANCER DETECTION Note: Quotes used in this article are from panelists of the 2021 Prevent Cancer Foundation Advocacy Workshop. To learn more about the 2022 Advocacy Workshop, visit The earlier that cancer is detected, the more opportunities there are for a successful outcome. When cancer is diagnosed after someone has exhibited symptoms, the prognosis can be affected, and it may be harder and more expensive to treat the cancer. In the U.S., current guidelines recommend routine screening for just five cancers— breast, cervical, colorectal, prostate and lung (in heavy smokers and former smokers only). With more than 100 different types of cancer, there are no routine screening tests for most cancers. But new scientific breakthroughs on this front could change the paradigm for cancer screening and ultimately, save millions of lives. Multi-cancer early detection (MCED) tests are blood-based screening tests (also called liquid

biopsies) that are designed to identify the presence of cancer for more than one cancer at a time at the earliest possible stages, before noticeable symptoms occur. MCEDs are to be used alongside existing screenings to catch more cancers before they spread. MCEDs have received breakthrough designation from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), but none has been approved or cleared by the FDA. Numerous companies are working on developing MCEDs and one blood test is now commercially available; more will undoubtedly follow. Unlike conventional biopsies that require a sample of the actual tumor tissue for laboratory analysis, MCEDs detect specific biomarkers in the blood that are released by cancer cells. These include fragments of genetic material like DNA and RNA, byproducts of a process called methylation and other circulating metabolites. Not all cancer cells release identical markers. For example, biomarkers from a tumor in the breast may be different from biomarkers from tumors in the pancreas or kidney. Test assay developers must combine many different techniques to detect a variety of cancer markers. Finding cancer at its earliest stage, when there are fewer cancer markers in the bloodstream, is a daunting task. Anne Marie Lennon, M.D., Ph.D, Director, Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, explained this at the 2021 Prevent Cancer Advocacy Workshop, “A Patient-Centered Approach to Multi-Cancer Early Detection Testing.” She said, “If you want to try, for example, to detect cancer DNA in the bloodstream, the amount of DNA that’s in the blood stream is tiny. There could be one to five mutant DNA fragments in 10,000 normal fragments, so this can be very challenging.”

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ADVOCACY NEWS The test must be highly sensitive to pick up these minuscule cancer markers. And it needs to be specific enough to produce a low rate of false positives that could result in unnecessary follow-up procedures, not to mention anxiety on the part of the patient. Despite all these challenges, studies have shown that some of these early tests, although not perfect, have done remarkably well, detecting cancers for which there are no screening tests, such as kidney, pancreatic and ovarian, sometimes in their earliest stages, with a very low rate of false positives. MCEDs offer hope that one day, most cancers will be detected early enough so that they can be cured. But before MCEDs are administered population wide, there are several basic questions that need to be answered. At what age should this test be offered to patients? How often should the test be repeated? How will health care providers work with patients to help them understand the ramifications of the test, especially if the results are not clear-cut? Access to health care has long been a problem for medically underserved and minority communities, where low screening rates, late-stage cancer diagnoses and poor outcomes are common. MCEDs could help tackle these problems. Phylicia Woods, JD, MSW, former Executive Director of the Cancer Policy Institute at the Cancer Support Community, explains, “By expanding the benefits of early detection to more cancers and people, outcomes for cancer patients could also improve. That's one of the reasons why the promise of MCEDs is very much so important.” Ms. Woods notes that poor access to health care, lack of provider recommendation, an absence of symptoms, fear of a bad diagnosis and the cost of medical care are among several factors that contribute to the low rate of screening among marginalized populations. She also adds that there is a mistrust of the health care system among communities that may have historically suffered abuse at its hand. So simply offering a new screening test is not the only answer.

“When your providers reflect the patient population that they’re treating, studies show that people are more inclined to work with the patient population to help educate them on the best things that are important for them when it comes to their health care.” Part of the solution, said Ms. Woods, is the “purposeful hiring of health care providers of diverse ethnicities and backgrounds.” “When your providers reflect the patient population that they're treating, studies show that people are more inclined to work with the patient population to help educate them on the best things that are important for them when it comes to their health care,” she said. If MCEDs are to be accessible and affordable to all, these tests cannot pose a financial burden on patients. The bipartisan Medicare Multi-Cancer Early Detection Screening Coverage Act of 2021, supported by the Prevent Cancer Foundation and over 300 other patient advocacy groups and provider organizations, is a big step in the right direction. This proposed legislation would allow a pathway for Medicare coverage for MCED technology once the tests are approved by the FDA. If this bill is passed, it could have a ripple effect throughout the health care system. “As Medicare goes, so goes other coverage,” said Anna SchwamleinHoward of the American Cancer Society Action Network. Ms. Schwamlein-Howard explained private insurers often look to Medicare for guidance in determining which tests they should cover. The ability to detect multiple types of cancer from a blood test that could be conducted in a health care provider’s office, a clinic or even a mobile van revolutionary could be transformative science. And when that finally happens, it could go a long way in saving lives through early detection. 13


ADVANCING HEALTH EQUITY THROUGH INNOVATION June 9-10, 2022 Renaissance Arlington Capital View Hotel, Arlington, Va.

Join us as we return in person for the 2022 Prevent Cancer Dialogue! This year, we will focus on the theme: Advancing health equity through innovation. Hear from well-known experts and engaging speakers on important trending topics in cancer prevention and early detection and be part of valuable conversations with colleagues and leaders in the field. Topics for this year’s event include updates on HPV vaccination, frontiers of early detection, solutions to achieve health equity and more! Nurses, nurse practitioners and certified health education specialists will be able to earn continuing education credits. Visit for more info on hours and approvals or to register for the event.


September 15, 2022 National Building Museum Washington, D.C. HONORARY PATRONS His Excellency, Ambassador Arthur Sinodinos AO and Mrs. Elizabeth Sinodinos TICKETS AND SPONSORSHIPS Lorelei Mitrani l 703.519.2102 l

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2022 CANCER CHAMPIONS Senator Mike Crapo Senator Michael Bennet Representative Terri Sewell Representative Jodey Arrington Representative Raul Ruiz Representative Richard Hudson GALA CO-CHAIRS Nickie Currie Kathryn Kennedy Ted Okon

Susanna Quinn Lori Reilly


JOIN A COMMUNITY OF CHANGE At the Prevent Cancer Foundation, we dare to imagine a world where no one dies of cancer. As the only U.S.based organization dedicated solely to reducing cancer death through cancer prevention and early detection, we have remained steadfast in that dedication by funding the most promising and innovative new research and contributing to some of the world’s most important advances to save lives. The only way we can move toward a world where no one dies of cancer is together. With your help, we can build a community of change and make a difference every day with our Innovation Circle. With monthly donations, you will provide reliable funding that allows us to consistently support our researchers, community grantees and more. Monthly donations spread your gift out over the year and can be the most convenient and best way to give. They show your continued commitment to the prevention and early detection of cancer. Donate throughout the year with one easy transaction! Invest in our mission of saving lives across all populations through cancer prevention and early detection by taking your impact to the next level. Just $12 a month puts $144 a year toward lifesaving research and programs. Join our Innovation Circle today at and become part of a community that strives for a brighter tomorrow. 15

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UPCOMING EVENTS May 19, 2022 Advocacy Workshop Virtual Event June 9-10, 2022 Prevent Cancer Dialogue Arlington, VA


Back on the Books survey results

Tackling health disparities with Eastern Maine Medical Center

Updated lung cancer screening guidelines

Join a community of change

September 15, 2022 Prevent Cancer Foundation 28th Annual Gala Washington, D.C. November 3-4, 2022 Quantitative Imaging Workshop Virtual Event For more information visit

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