How MD Anderson’s Moon Shots Program is working to end cancer through prevention

You’ve probably heard about MD Anderson’s Moon Shots Program. But what is it? We asked Ernest Hawk, M.D., co-director of the Cancer Prevention and Control Platform and co-leader of the Colorectal Cancer Moon Shot, to tell us about the program and how prevention plays a role. Here’s what he told us. What is MD Anderson’s Moon Shots Program? Our Moon Shots Program is about accelerating the translation of clinical and basic science discoveries into medical practice. This helps us improve patient care and outcomes, from improved delivery of prevention and screening tests, to more tailored treatments and cancer survivorship services. We also want to improve community health. We’re working on influencing positive changes in public policy, education and delivery of community-based health care. How is MD Anderson’s Moon Shots Program different from the National Cancer Moonshot? MD Anderson launched our Moon Shots Program in Sept. 2012. The National Cancer Moonshot, which was announced in Jan. 2016, has a similar goal: to dramatically accelerate efforts to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer. However, the national effort is pursuing this goal by building and enhancing a national infrastructure and clinical and research networks to drive research and improve cancer care, as well as patient outcomes. What are the benefits of working to prevent cancer? Prevention offers the most cost-effective, long-term strategy to address the cancer burden. We know that at least 30-50% of all cancer deaths in the U.S. can be avoided through lifestyle changes that individuals and communities can make today. These include maintaining a balanced diet, exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy weight, avoiding tobacco, practicing sun safety, getting the HPV...