Before COVID’s domination of 2020, the leading cause of premature death in the US was cancer. About 40% of Americans receive some sort of cancer diagnosis in their lifetimes, amounting to over 600,000 American deaths on an average year.

When cancer is caught early at localized stages, outcomes are generally favorable with better opportunities for intervention. When cancer is diagnosed at a late stage, after spreading into the blood and distant parts of the body, outcomes are worse. Cancer screening is essential to catching cancers early, but today we only have cancer screenings for just 5 cancers, with no available screening tests for the cancers responsible for over 70% of cancer deaths in the US.

Innovations in technology, sequencing and data science have the potential to improve individual and population health outcomes relevant to cancer.

Multi-Cancer Early Detection (MCED) is an emerging set of technologies that, when added to existing single cancer screening, offer an opportunity to identify a broad range of cancers earlier in the course of disease. With the use of a simple blood draw, multi-cancer early detection technology enables clinicians to rapidly screen for multiple types of cancer at once, potentially catching and treating them earlier.

This approach represents a paradigm shift in cancer detection: moving from screening select individuals at higher risk of developing specific cancers to screening the broader population for up to 50 possible cancers at once.

However, this shift is not without challenges—namely, defining the clinical utility, value, and care delivery of multi-cancer early detection and preparing health systems for the systematic changes in cancer-care workflow.

This lecture series is dedicated to exploring these and other important issues. Supported by an educational grant from GRAIL.

More information on the series can be found here.

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Submissions from 2021

The Convergence of Personalized Medicine Population Health, with the Advent of Multi Cancer Early Detection (MCED), Otis W. Brawley, MD, MACP, FRCP(L), FASCO, FACE; Edith Peterson Mitchell, MD, MACP, FCPP, FRCP; Lincoln S. Nadauld, MD, PhD; and David B. Nash