For the 1.7 million Americans who will be diagnosed with cancer this year, recent breakthroughs in cancer research offer lifesaving potential. Extraordinary medical advancements have introduced innovative treatments for cancer patients, taught us how to better prevent cancer and how to detect it at its earliest stages.
Each of these research breakthroughs were in some way funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Cancer Institute (NCI). As the largest funder of cancer research, the federal government plays a role in virtually every major medical development in the fight against cancer. That’s why sustained, significant increases to federal research funding are essential to spurring additional progress in our fight against cancer. Without a predictable source of increased funding, research efforts will plateau and our momentum against this life-threatening disease will be greatly impacted.
Lawmakers have already illustrated widespread, bipartisan support of federal funding for cancer research in recent years, including the 2016 passage of the National Cancer Moonshot Initiative as part of the 21st Century Cures Act. Congress again has the opportunity to make funding for cancer research a priority. This is a necessary next step in conquering a disease that will claim the lives of more than 600,000 Americans this year. As Congress prepares fiscal year 2020 appropriations bills, legislators can continue to fuel the momentum of discovery in cancer treatment by including a $2.5 billion funding increase for the NIH and a $378 million increase for the NCI.
Lisa Lacasse, President, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, [email protected]