Cancer Moonshot Initiatives at LSU LCMC Health Cancer Center 

Making progress in cancer research is a collective effort. The US and Louisiana are home to some of the brightest minds in cancer research, and we have the power to make significant strides in preventing cancer, diagnosing it early, and providing the best possible care for patients. 

Cancer Moonshot is committed to doing exactly that. Led by President Biden and the First Lady, the White House’s goal is to: 

  • Prevent over 4 million cancer deaths by 2047 
  • Improve the experience of people impacted by cancer 

At LSU LCMC Health Cancer Center, we support the mission of Cancer Moonshot through our own initiatives to improve cancer care in Louisiana and nationally. This commitment was recognized by Jill Biden’s visit to LSU Health New Orleans in 2023

Across the country, the federal government and organizations from public and private sectors are joining together to change the lives of millions impacted by cancer. Here’s how we're advancing Cancer Moonshot’s goals in the Gulf South region. 

Goal 1: Prevent Cancer Before It Starts 

Cancer can affect anyone, regardless of who they are or where they live. Thanks to decades of fast-moving research, we now know more than ever about the causes of cancer – and we’re in a most promising position to prevent it. 

LSU LCMC Health Cancer Center partners with organizations like the Louisiana Cancer Prevention & Control Programs, Louisiana Healthy Communities Coalition, and the Louisiana Campaign for Tobacco-Free Living to spread awareness about cancer risk factors that are in our control, the two most controllable being tobacco use and obesity. These two factors cause the most death and disease in Louisiana, in the US, and around the world. 

Not smoking, eating healthy, and exercising regularly are critical components of preventing cancer before it begins. By engaging with communities in Louisiana to promote healthy lifestyles, we advance Cancer Moonshot’s mission of reducing the number of cancer cases. 

Goal 2: Reduce Environmental Causes of Cancer 

Some cancers are caused by genetic changes that occur naturally within cells. Others are caused by exposure to DNA-damaging environmental factors in the air you breathe, the water you drink, and the sunshine outside. Examples include tobacco, ultraviolet radiation from the sun’s rays, asbestos, and arsenic. 

As with Cancer Moonshot’s initiatives, LSU LCMC Health Cancer Center prioritizes community outreach to educate Louisiana communities about cancer causes, including those in the environment. For instance, in partnership with the Louisiana Campaign for Tobacco-Free Living, we’ve implemented tobacco control initiatives to prevent and reduce tobacco use, which helps limit the amount of secondhand smoke people are exposed to. 

Louisiana is also home to “Cancer Alley,” which includes communities within an 85-mile stretch along the Mississippi River between New Orleans and Baton Rouge. Here, Louisianians live alongside roughly 200 cancer-causing chemicals, including fossil fuels and petrochemical operations. Most at risk are Black residents who live in this area. To protect vulnerable residents, we must utilize cancer screenings to catch signs of cancer as early as possible. 

Goal 3: Improve Cancer Screening Rates 

Cancer screenings are one of the most powerful tools in reducing the burden of cancer, and they are a Cancer Moonshot priority. By finding cancer at the earliest possible stage – often before symptoms appear – it can be easier to treat. It also reduces the chances of cancer spreading to other parts of the body. 

Though screenings are one of the best ways to save lives from cancer, they’re vastly underutilized, especially in the most vulnerable populations in the US and, specifically, Louisiana. The Gulf South Clinical Trials Network, led by LSU LCMC Health Cancer Center’s Augusto Ochoa, MD, is committed to bringing the most advanced cancer screenings and treatment to everyone in Louisiana, particularly those in minority and underserved communities. 

In 2016, Dr. Ochoa was one of 28 cancer experts in the US – and the only one in Louisiana – chosen to serve on the Cancer Moonshot Blue Ribbon Panel. Today, he continues to serve on the Cancer Moonshot Committee. 

Our community outreach and engagement research promote cancer screening and clinical trial participation in Louisiana through partnerships with community organizations committed to the eradication of cancer. 

Goal 4: Provide the Latest Cancer Care for All Communities 

Everyone deserves the highest quality cancer care available. However, the reality is that disparities exist for many groups based on things such as race, geographical location, income, and health insurance coverage. These things can dictate how and when people get care. Even just a one-month delay in getting care can mean a 10% greater risk of dying. 

Through screenings, education, and other forms of community outreach, the LSU LCMC Health Cancer Center is dedicated to advancing Cancer Moonshot’s goal of bringing the latest cancer care to everyone – no matter who they are or where they live. Instead of traveling long distances to access care, we provide quality care that’s close to home. 

Clinical trials are one of the most critical ways to connect patients with groundbreaking treatment before it is made available to the public. Trials also provide patients with extra support from their care teams throughout the process. Our partnership with the Gulf South Clinical Trials Network allows Louisianians to make clinical trials a part of their cancer care without the hassle of travel and being away from home. 

Reducing the Impact of Cancer in Louisiana and Nationwide 

Cancer can have more than just a physical impact – it can also take an emotional, social, and financial toll. Caregivers, family members, and friends are also affected by cancer diagnoses. Cancer Moonshot is working to reduce this impact through various programs and initiatives to support those affected by cancer. 

At LSU LCMC Health Cancer Center, we know how to mitigate the effects of cancer to help patients and loved ones feel supported, cared for, and heard. Every patient has access to a comprehensive care team consisting of a range of cancer experts, from physicians to nurses to social workers and more. In addition to providing the best cancer care available, we will help you find financial assistance and social support as you navigate your cancer journey. 

Just as Cancer Moonshot is changing the course of cancer in the US, we’re taking on cancer right here in Louisiana – and we’re here for all your cancer concerns. 



Do you have questions about getting cancer care at LSU LCMC Health Cancer Center? Contact us to learn more about screenings, care, clinical trials, and more.


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