December 2011 marks a milestone in the Federal commitment to the war on cancer. Forty years ago, the US Congress passed, and President Richard Nixon signed, the National Cancer Act of 1971, a bill which expanded our country’s national cancer program and gave the National Cancer Institute unprecedented authority and resources to begin a comprehensive approach to understanding and developing more effective tools to prevent and treat cancer.
Today, several members of the United States Senate, Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH), John Kerry (D-MA), and Jerry Moran (R-KS) will introduce a resolution to commemorate this anniversary, with more than 40 cosponsors, nearly half of the US Senate. A finding in the resolution reads:
Whereas 40 years ago, with the passage of the National Cancer Act of 1971 (Public Law 92–218; 85 Stat. 778), the leaders of the United States came together to set the country on a concerted course to conquer cancer through research;
Since that time, the 5-year survival rate for all cancers combined has risen consistently and is now at 68 percent for adults and 80 percent for children and adolescents. This is an increase from 50 percent and 52 percent, respectively, in 1971. This increase in survival is the result of the commitment that the country has made, and the partnership between our legislators, advocacy organizations, and individuals who have been impacted by this disease.
And while progress is being made, we must build upon these successes by focusing on early detection, innovative technologies, and promising scientific breakthroughs in patient treatment, such as personalized medicine. More than 1.5 million Americans are expected to be diagnosed with cancer this year and NIH estimated the overall cost of cancer in 2010 to be greater than $260 billion. For them, and their families, we need to do even better.
We urge you to contact your Senators – to ask them to support this resolution if they have not already done so – and to remind them that finding better ways to prevent and treat cancer remains a priority for you, and for our country.
Become a member of the Prevent Cancer Advocacy Action Center today to join this effort.