Guardant Health Applauds Congressional Letter Calling for HHS Action to Improve USPSTF Process to Increase Access to Cancer Screenings
Palo Alto, Calif. – July 25, 2022 – Guardant Health, a leading precision oncology company, applauds Congresswoman Anna Eshoo (D-CA) and Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone (D-NJ) for raising important questions in a letter to U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra on how the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) process can be improved to increase patient access to essential preventive services such as early cancer screening tests.
The USPSTF is an independent, volunteer advisory board that issues evidence-based recommendations on which clinical preventative services Americans should receive.1 Services that receive an “A” or “B” grade from the Task Force are covered with $0 cost-sharing for insured patients.2 Under its current structure, the USPSTF aims to review and update existing recommendations every five years, though multi-year delays are common.3,4
“The Task Force guidelines play a key role in ensuring people have access to preventative services like early cancer screening however, the current USPSTF five-year update cycle doesn’t reflect today’s pace of innovation,” said AmirAli Talasaz, Guardant Health co-CEO. “We thank Reps. Eshoo and Pallone for their action, and hope that HHS leadership will take the necessary steps to improve the USPSTF process so that innovative technologies like blood-based cancer screening tests can be accessible to patients upon FDA approval.”
The Congressional letter outlines how a new blood test to screen asymptomatic, average-risk patients for colorectal cancer (CRC) may not be accessible to patients right away under the current USPSTF process. The most recent USPSTF review of CRC screening was completed in May 20215 and the next recommendation is not expected until 2026. Therefore, should FDA approval be granted for CRC blood-based screening tests, it may still be years until the USPSTF releases its next recommendation to include blood tests.
The inability to provide access to the latest innovations in cancer screening technology has far-reaching implications. More than 75% of people who die from CRC today are not up to date with recommended screening.6 Blood tests have the potential to overcome many of the access barriers associated with current CRC screening methods by incorporating these tests into routine medical care. Timely access to innovative new cancer screening technologies like blood tests can lead to improved compliance, early detection and diagnosis.
For more information on how Guardant Health is advocating for access to modern cancer screenings visit https://guardanthealth.com/about/democratize-cancer-screening/.
- U.S. Preventive Services Taskforce, “U.S. Preventive Services Taskforce Procedural Manual,” (2021). https://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/uspstf/about-uspstf/methods-and-processes/procedure-manual
- See 42 US Code §300gg-13, entitled “Coverage of preventive health services.”
- U.S. Preventive Services Taskforce. “Procedure Manual,” May 2021. https://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/uspstf/about-uspstf/methods-and-processes/procedure-manual.
- U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. “Published Recommendations,” January 25, 2022. https://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/uspstf/topic_search_results?topic_status=P
- US Preventive Services Task Force, “Screening for Colorectal Cancer: US Preventive Services Task Force Recommendation Statement,” JAMA 325, no. 19:1965–1977. doi:10.1001/jama.2021.6238
- Doubeni CA, Fedewa SA, Levin TR, et al. Modifiable failures in the colorectal cancer screening process and their association with risk of death. Gastroenterology. 2019;156(1):63-74. doi:10.1053/j.gastro.2018.09.040.