Cancer command center

Knowledge is Power

The Cancer moonshot Cancer Cabinet has identified priorities to: (1) close the screening gap, (2) understand and address environmental exposure, (3) decrease the impact of preventable cancers, (4) bring cutting edge research through the pipeline to patients and communities, and (5) support patients and caregivers.

Ground Zero

NMQF is working to investigate areas of the country with high incidences of cancer, risk of cancer, and/or patient risk associated with environmental crises.

The CDC defines a cancer cluster as a greater-than-expected number of cancer cases that occurs within a group of people in a geographic area over a period of time by the CDC. To learn more about cancer clusters or if you suspect your community is in a cancer cluster, check out these resources:

About Cancer Clusters
NCI’s Cancer Cluster Web site
Cancer Cluster Guidelines For Community Leaders


More than 1000 suspected cancer clusters are reported to state health departments each year, according to American Cancer Society.


Four cancer cases are estimated to be diagnosed approximately every minute in 2022 according to American Cancer Society,


There are approximately 1,607 deaths each day from cancer according to the American Cancer Society.


The cancer death rate for men and women combined fell 32% from its peak in 1991 to 2019. This was in part due to earlier detection advancements during this time according to the CDC.

Patient Headquarters

Here is helpful information for you or your loved ones if you are concerned you have symptoms or need help coordinating a screening.

What types of screenings are available?

Currently, screening is available for Colorectal, Breast, Lung, Prostate and Cervical cancers. If you are not experiencing symptoms the general recommended timeline for screening is as follows:
- Ages 25-39: Cervical Cancer
- Ages 40-49: Breast Cancer, Cervical Cancer, Colorectal Cancer, Prostate Cancer
- Ages 50+: Breast Cancer, Cervical Cancer, Colorectal Cancer,
Other factors may contribute to the need to be screened or screened earlier.
The good news is that some cancers are highly treatable in early stages. Like Colon cancer, where polyps can be removed. But in order to know, you need to be screened. For more information on colorectal cancer screenings you can go to and learn more.
Prostate Cancer and Lung Cancer Some cancer screening tests need to be ordered by a doctor or another health care provider who can order them.
If you don’t have a doctor, there are things you can do and places you can call to find out how to get the screening tests you need. Some tests like Cologuard can be used in the comfort of your own home, but it is still important to check with your doctor before use. People who have a higher risk of colorectal cancer should be tested by a doctor.

image of Gary A. Puckrein

I have Symptoms, But I Don’t Know What To Do

Regular cancer screenings should be a part of your health routine like going to the dentist or checking your blood pressure. If you are concerned you have symptoms or meet the age requirements; then you should talk with your doctor about cancer screening. Cancer screenings are typically covered through most insurance as they are preventative care.

Some cancers can be found early before they have had a chance to grow and spread. It’s important to talk to your doctor during your next visit in order to assess your risk and schedule a screening or any necessary follow-up appointments.

image of Gary A. Puckrein

Talking With Your Doctor

Talking and being transparent with your doctor is the best way to ensure you get the help you need. If you are unsure of what to ask here are some suggestions for screening questions from the American Cancer Society:
What cancer screening tests are recommended for someone my age?
How often should I get the screening tests?
Where can I go to get screened?
How do I schedule my screening tests?
Will my screening tests (or other costs) be covered by my health insurance?
What will the screening tests cost if they are not covered by insurance?

If you don’t have a doctor or health care provider, you will likely need a doctor or health care provider to receive most cancer screenings or help guide you in what cancer screenings may be right for you.
When choosing a doctor, you will likely need to look for a clinic or office that has a primary care physician (PCP) or a family doctor (sometimes also called a generalist, internist, or internal medicine doctor). Some women may feel more comfortable with a gynecologist as their primary doctor. Many clinics and offices also have nurse practitioners or physician assistants who can recommend and order cancer screening tests.

image of Gary A. Puckrein

Financial Resources

If you’ve been diagnosed with cancer or are underinsured or uninsured for cancer screenings there are options to help with financial costs. Here are some resources for you to consider:
HRSA’s Health Center Locator (For a list of low-cost health centers)
American Council of Life Insurers
Co-pay Relief Program
Patient Services, Inc. (PSI)
Social Security Administration

image of Gary A. Puckrein

Share your story

If you or a loved one has had experience with cancer, cancer screenings or a cancer cluster, feel free to share your story with the Cancer Shifting Stage Initative.

Friends in the Fight

Organizations with helpful resources for you and your loved ones.


Screening for cancer may sound intimidating, but it can also save your life.

As you think about starting your screenings, here are some questions you can ask your doctor:

What cancer screening tests are recommended for someone my age?

How often should I get the screening tests?

Do I need to see any specialists to get my screening tests done, or can you order all of them?

Which of the screening tests should I get first?

Do I have to get screened right away or can I wait?

Will my screening tests be covered by my health insurance?

What happens if my results show possible signs of cancer?

Clinician Headquarters

National Minority Quality Forum (NMQF) has launched the Alliance for Representative Clinical Trials (ARC). ARC is a multi-sponsor public/private program organized to diversify and bring clinical trials to communities of color and other communities that have been underrepresented in clinical trials. This collaborative effort allows for a significant sample size of the minority population to be included in clinical trials by including community clinic participation, thus providing sufficient power for drawing meaningful conclusions that would otherwise exclude minorities and not account for their health outcomes.

Alliance for Representative Clinical Trials supports two essential programs:

Principal Investigator (PI) training:

Community clinicians and their research team are invited to enroll in the PI Institute where they attend a thirteen-hour course conducted by a leading global contract research organization (CRO). Training includes a site feasibility survey to determine what, if any, upgrades (human and physical) are required to organize the clinician practice as a clinical research site. Upon successful completion a certificate that a community clinician (and the practice site) has met its standards to be a PI is issued. The institute will offer programs and recertification to ensure that its network of investigators remains in compliance with best clinical trial standards.

Clinical Investigative Site Network (CISN):

CISN serves as a single entity representing its network sites. As a coordinating center, CISN streamlines study activities (contract, IRB approvals, ICD) through a single central administrative staff. It refines clinical trial processes to ensure optimally performed trials, using single contracting, centralized IRB, and a centralized study activation center. Sponsors of the PI Institute agrees not to contract separately with any CISN site.

Addressing Implicit Bias and Systemic Racism

The National Minority Quality Forum’s (NMQF’s) Center for Sustainable Health Care Quality and Equity (SHC) provides clinical teams and community leaders education, training and support in:

SHC focuses on primary care in underserved and vulnerable communities, including people of color, rural populations, older adults, children, people with disabilities, and people with limited financial means, health literacy, and other social risks, identified through NMQF’s state-of-the-art health geographic information system (GIS). Applying the rapid cycle improvement and collective impact model, SHC promotes patient-centered, team-based care that respects clinicians, patients, and caregivers in achieving high-quality and equitable health outcomes.

The SHC team will create a quality improvement and clinical education (QIE) toolkit via the DRIVE model that will serve health systems and clinical partners. SHC’s aim is to reach more FQHCs, look-alikes, and community-based organizations with a community-led approach that addresses quality improvement in the cancer continuum of care, beginning with colorectal screening and expanding to other oncological areas of interest. The DRIVE toolkit will address inequities in health outcomes for historically excluded communities and systemic racism, house resources and tools in health equity for clinicians and communities, and provide a plan-do-study-act example library of QIE interventions. The toolkit may also address implicit and explicit biases in providers and systems, as well as understand how patient navigation plays a role in assisting patients in navigating the discriminatory and racist values of the systems within which they engage.

To be a part of this important work and gain access to SHC’s toolkit, please send your contact information (name, institution, title, clinical specialty, and email address) to [email protected]

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National Minority Quality Forum is a research and educational organization dedicated to ensuring that high-risk racial and ethnic populations and communities receive optimal health care. This nonprofit, nonpartisan organization integrates data and expertise in support of initiatives to eliminate health disparities.

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