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May 4, 2009 [Washington, DC] -- During the past year and a half LCA has been an active participant in the development of the recently introduced ALERT Act, 21st Century Cancer Care Legislation, introduced by Senators Edward Kennedy and Kay Bailey Hutchison (S. 717). LCA has been the lead voice for the lung cancer community in advocating specifically for a targeted research grant program within NCI for cancers with five-year survival rates of less than 50%.
As background, while a number of cancers have achieved a five-year survival rate of over 80% since passage of the National Cancer Act of 1971, significant challenges still remain for other types of cancers, particularly those most lethal forms of cancer. In fact, more than half of the 565,650 cancer deaths in 2008, were caused by eight forms of cancer with 5-year survival rates of less than 50%: These include: pancreatic, liver, lung, esophageal, stomach, brain, multiple myeloma, and ovarian. Yet these cancers have historically also received the least amount of federal funding.
In response, the “Lethal Cancer Coalition”, a coalition of the nation’s leading health advocacy organizations representing these eight cancers, was formed to advocate aggressively for language in S. 717 to fund a targeted and comprehensive research initiative to reduce the overall mortality impact of these specific lethal cancers. This targeted grant program within National Cancer Institute (NCI) would require the NCI and other federal agencies to develop a comprehensive and strategic plan for research activities necessary to increase survivorship for these specific cancers above the 50% survival threshold, provide dedicated funding for basic research, expand and advance the potential of imaging to assist in early detection, disease management and drug development, preserve and fully fund all Specialized Programs of Research Excellence (SPORE), enhance biomarker research funding, ensure grant review teams include disease specific experts and patient advocates, and advance specialized training programs to attract and retain a broader pool of investigators for these cancers.
The “Lethal Cancer Coalition” is also advocating for similar representation in corresponding legislation expected to be introduced shortly in the House of Representatives.
LCA Advocacy for Targeted Research Funding for Lethal Cancers in ALERT Act
July 2008: Letter to Senators Edward Kennedy (D-MA) and Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX)
September 2008: Letter to then Presidential Candidate Barack Obama
April 26, 2009: LCA Letter to Editor on lethal cancers NYT
To read more about the 21st Century Cancer ALERT Act, click here.