Cancer is one of the most important diseases of the 21st century when you consider its reach, impact and the vast resources dedicated to care delivery and research. In fact, almost 40 percent of the United States’ population will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lifetime. As troubling as those numbers are, cancer researchers were galvanized in late 2016 by the announcement of the Cancer Moonshot initiative and $1.8 billion in supplemental National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding dedicated to cancer research.
Similar to how NASA’s moonshot in the 1960’s drastically altered our understanding of man’s role in space, our understanding of cancer and how to treat it is fundamentally changing. There are different forces at work, each of which could independently change the delivery of cancer care as we know it. Combined, these forces could shift cancer care as significantly as the development of mammography and other imaging modalities in the 1960’s and 1970’s.3 Material changes in cancer care models – with implications for operational and financial performance – will be required to address these shifts.