MADISON, Wis., May 17, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Exact Sciences, a leading provider of cancer screening and diagnostic tests, announced today that it awarded $1.1 million to 18 organizations through its Funding Opportunities for CRC Screening Uptake Strategies (FOCUS) Program. Grant recipients are committed to improving uptake of colorectal cancer (CRC) screening and supporting affordable pathways to follow-up care for people who are medically underserved.
CRC is the third most common cancer diagnosed in both men and women in the United States.1 The disease disproportionately affects different socioeconomic groups, races, and regions in the United States, with higher rates seen in certain populations, such as Black, American Indian, and Alaska Native communities.2 It has been estimated that tens of thousands of CRC cases and deaths could be prevented if 80% of eligible U.S. adults were screened.2
“Colorectal cancer is one of the most preventable cancers, yet approximately 60 million average-risk Americans remain unscreened³†,” said Paul Limburg, Chief Medical Officer, Screening, at Exact Sciences. “Awareness and access are critical to increasing screenings, and Exact Sciences is honored to support these organizations that are driving screening uptake and addressing inequities within their communities.”
Launched in June 2022, the FOCUS Program provides grant funding to community organizations, health foundations, public health organizations, and advocacy groups working to increase access to CRC screening and reduce barriers to follow-up colonoscopy.
Exact Sciences developed Cologuard®, the first and only FDA-approved, noninvasive, multi-target, stool-based DNA screening test that people can use at home. Since making the test available in 2014, more than 11 million people have used Cologuard to screen for CRC.
Advocates for Community Wellness, Inc.
The organization plans to implement a cancer awareness program focused on reducing CRC morbidity and mortality for people of color.
AltaMed Health Services Corporation
Los Angeles, California
The group will build on its award-winning CRC screening and follow-up program, using community health workers to educate patients about screening and help them navigate care.
Bond Community Health Center
The center will continue its “They Matter. You Matter” project to educate people about the importance of CRC screenings and explore new methods for engaging patients.
Communities First, Inc.
The organization is expanding its Family Mobility Services and community health education materials aimed at reaching medically underserved populations.
Community Health Center, Inc.
Funding will support the integration of a CHW into the CRC process as a way to provide one-on-one education, support patients in completing screening and receiving appropriate follow-up care, and helping overdue patients re-engage in this life-saving screening.
Erie Family Health Center, Inc.
The organization plans to increase access to and rates of CRC screening. It will ensure pathways to follow-up colonoscopies for patients across its 13 centers.
Kaleida Health Foundation/Great Lakes Cancer Care Collaborative
Buffalo, New York
The community outreach team aims to increase colorectal cancer awareness for 900 individuals from primarily disadvantaged neighborhoods. These individuals face roadblocks to cancer screening including knowledge of available screening tools and their eligibility.
Kenosha Community Health Center, Inc.
The center intends to better understand patient motivation and screening barriers. It will also explore new technology and workflows for managing the CRC screening patient cohort.
R.L. Jones Community Outreach Center
Funding will support a partnership between the R.L. Jones Community Outreach Center and the Michigan State University Charles Stewart Mott Department of Public Health. This project will focus on educating hard-to-reach residents in the community about CRC screening.
Milwaukee Black Grassroots Network for Health Equity
The organization will promote CRC screening in highly disadvantaged neighborhoods, with a goal of reaching 500 African American people at higher risk of developing CRC.
Nebraska Cancer Coalition
The coalition will address intersecting issues of health disparities/health equity and education surrounding CRC screenings in rural and urban settings.
Northwestern Memorial Foundation
Through Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center, the organization aims to increase colorectal cancer awareness for 1,500 Bronzeville residents who have higher risk for colorectal cancer and higher mortality rates than the average person in Chicago.
Odyssey House Louisiana, Inc.
New Orleans, Louisiana
The organization will execute a patient-centered program that uses one-on-one education to increase CRC screenings and understanding of the importance of regular screening.
Olathe Community Clinic Inc., dba River Family Health Centers
The funding supports a project that will meet the pressing need to increase CRC screenings, especially for low-income, uninsured, Hispanic/Latino, and other populations at risk.
Refuah Health Center, Inc.
Spring Valley, New York
The center intends to increase equitable access to CRC screening and comprehensive gastroenterology care within low-income, marginalized communities.
Shawnee Health Service and Development Corporation
The organization’s community health workers will provide patient navigation and education to those who have been prescribed a CRC screening but have not yet completed it.
Taking Aim at Cancer in Louisiana
New Orleans, Louisiana
Each participating clinic aims to increase its baseline screening rate among individuals with low incomes, with a goal of bringing down the state’s high death rate from CRC.
The University of Central Florida Board of Trustees dba HealthARCH
UCF HealthARCH, a division of the University of Central Florida College of Medicine, will implement a screening program at four health systems serving populations at high risk.
About the FOCUS Program
Launched in June 2022, Exact Sciences’ Funding Opportunities for CRC Screening Uptake Strategies (FOCUS) Program provides grant funding to community organizations, health foundations, public health organizations, and CRC advocacy groups to expand access to colorectal cancer screening and create affordable pathways to follow-up diagnostic care. FOCUS reflects Exact Sciences’ ongoing commitment to meet people where they are and offer solutions to overcome barriers to care, regardless of a patient’s race, ethnicity, gender identity, socioeconomic status, or geographic location. Submissions are reviewed via Exact Sciences’ corporate grants process, which is fully independent from sales and marketing activities. Funding decisions are based solely on the strength of the application and alignment with FOCUS Program objectives, without regard to any actual or potential commercial relationships with potential grantees. Learn more information about the FOCUS Program here.
About Exact Sciences Corp.
A leading provider of cancer screening and diagnostic tests, Exact Sciences gives patients and health care professionals the clarity needed to take life-changing action earlier. Building on the success of the Cologuard® and Oncotype® tests, Exact Sciences is investing in its pipeline to develop innovative solutions for use before, during, and after a cancer diagnosis. For more information, visit ExactSciences.com, follow Exact Sciences on Twitter @ExactSciences, or find Exact Sciences on LinkedIn and Facebook.
NOTE: Oncotype, Oncotype DX, Oncotype DX Breast Recurrence Score, Oncotype DX Breast DCIS Score and Recurrence Score are trademarks or registered trademarks of Genomic Health, Inc. Exact Sciences and Cologuard are trademarks or registered trademarks of Exact Sciences Corporation. All other trademarks and service marks are the property of their respective owners.
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- American Cancer Society. Colorectal Cancer Facts & Figures 2023-2025. Atlanta: American Cancer Society; 2023.
- Meester RG, Doubeni CA, Zauber AG, et al. Public health impact of achieving 80% colorectal cancer screening rates in the United States by 2018. Cancer. 2015;121(13):2281-2285.
- Fisher D, et al. J Clin Oncol. 2022;40(4 suppl):65. doi:10.1200/JCO.2022.40.4_suppl.065
† Exact Sciences’ estimate assumes 50% screening rate for Americans ages 50-85 and 10% screening rate for ages 45-49.
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