Our Journey To Conquer Cancer Needs More Fuel
by Bruce E. Johnson, M.D., FASCO, President of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO)New York
Bruce E. Johnson, M.D., FASCO, President of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) (NAPS)
(NAPSI)—When I became a cancer doctor more than three decades ago, I
could not have imagined the dramatic progress we would make in the fight
against this disease. We can detect cancer earlier, target treatments more
effectively in many patients, and manage side effects so that patients live
longer, better lives. There are more than 15.5 million cancer survivors alive
in the United States
today. Since 1991, we have avoided 2.1 million cancer-related deaths. That’s
2.1 million sisters, brothers, husbands, wives, parents, children, best
friends and loved ones, all alive because we have improved our understanding
of cancer—how to prevent and treat it.
Progress has been possible because of our nation’s extraordinarily
generous and enduring commitment to cancer research. Federal funding for
cancer research has driven many of the most important prevention and
treatment advances of the last 50 years, such as unlocking the major cause of
cervical cancer, proving that lung cancer screening can save lives, and
helping women survive breast cancer without disfiguring surgery. These
advances have been principally supported by government agencies, have changed
how we survive cancer and have improved millions of lives.
The progress we have made shows us what is possible to achieve.
Cutting-edge science now makes it possible to target treatment to specific
cancers, letting patients have long and productive lives. Despite this, some
cancers are stubbornly difficult to treat, and cancer remains a formidable
challenge. Millions of people stand to benefit if we accelerate our progress.
Congress is considering how much funding to provide to the National Cancer
Institute (NCI), which supports the bulk of federally funded cancer research.
NCI supports studies that private industry has little incentive to conduct,
such as research into prevention and screening, rare cancers, and comparative
effectiveness, which usually are not profitable for companies. Instead,
federally funded cancer research serves as the engine of discovery that
companies depend on to fuel the development of new drugs—helping make
the United States
the global leader in new cancer treatments.
Although Congress recently gave a one-time boost for cancer research, this
occurred after many years of inadequate support. We need to regain momentum.
Public investment in cancer research offers hope to millions of people with
cancer and their families, who need access to federally funded clinical
trials. These often provide patients the best opportunities to access the
newest and best treatment options while helping us understand how best to
treat everyone. Patients with cancer need the United States to continue its
long tradition of leadership in innovation. They need us to push the
frontiers of knowledge and insight about cancer. They need new treatments
made possible by a robust national cancer research system.
Many Americans are telling their elected officials to support an increase
in federal funding for cancer research. Lawmakers can be reached at www.house.gov and www.senate.gov.
For further facts and stats about federal funding for cancer research and
the last 50 years of progress against cancer, go to www.asco.org/nihfunding.
On the Net:North American Precis Syndicate, Inc.(NAPSI)