More Than 300 Stakeholder Groups Support Improved Access to Multi-Cancer Early Detection Tests

March 26, 2021

The Association for Clinical Oncology (ASCO) joined the Prevent Cancer Foundation® and more than 300 other organizations from across the country in signing a letter to convey support for the Medicare Multi-Cancer Early Detection Screening Coverage Act. The legislation would allow the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to evaluate and cover multi-cancer early detection (MCED) tests once they are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Early cancer detection can save lives, lower treatment costs, and increase quality of life for patients and their families. However, Medicare only reimburses routine cancer screening for five types of cancer: breast, cervical, colorectal, prostate, and lung (and only in individuals at high-risk for lung cancer). That leaves the majority of cancers—accounting for nearly three out of every four cancer deaths in the United States each year— without available screening tests.

MCEDs, a new category of cancer screening, can detect many cancers in earlier stage. Peer-reviewed research shows the effectiveness of these new technologies, and FDA has granted multiple breakthrough device designations to these tests.

Under current law, Medicare coverage of preventive services is limited to circumstances in which Congress has explicitly authorized coverage or the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends the service with a grade of A or B. In the absence of legislation such as the Medicare Multi-Cancer Early Detection Screening Coverage Act, it could take several years after FDA approval before Medicare beneficiaries can receive coverage for MCED tests. The bill would reduce such delays, while allowing CMS to use an evidence-based process to determine its coverage.

Read the full letter.

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