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President highlights cancer priorities in State of the Union address

Priorities critical to achieving Cancer Moonshot goal, ACS CAN says.

During his State of the Union Address on March 7, President Joe Biden called for policy change to address the cancer burden. The president highlighted several priorities critical to reaching his ambitious Cancer Moonshot goal of significantly reducing cancer incidence and deaths in the next 25 years.

Noting that “we can do big things like end cancer as we know it,” the president called for continued federal investment in medical research through the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H), which focuses explicitly on bold, transformative, and applied research projects. Increased federal investment in medical research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Cancer Institute (NCI) has long been an advocacy priority for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN).

"We're proud to see the president's continued commitment to end cancer as we know it, for everyone, by sustained and significant federal investment in medical research through ARPA-H,” American Cancer Society (ACS) and ACS CAN CEO Dr. Karen E. Knudsen said in response. “Building on our nation's core investment in cancer research at the NIH and NCI, as well as additional funding for ARPA-H, are essential to reducing our country's cancer incidence and mortality rates, particularly as cancer incidence rates are expected to reach an all-time high this year.”

Dr. Knudsen also noted, “We are making incredible strides against the more than 200 diseases that we call cancer. But this progress and future breakthroughs are at risk if we let up on our commitment to cancer research. We look forward to working with the president and Congress to build on our nation's federal investment in the fight against cancer through ARPA-H so that everyone has a fair and just opportunity to prevent, detect, treat and survive cancer."

President Biden also urged Congress to lower the cost of prescription drugs so that cancer patients can afford treatment, and support making enhanced Marketplace subsidies permanent to allow more people access to affordable care. 

“We applaud the president for his commitment to equitable access to care by calling on Congress to make enhanced Marketplace subsidies permanent and allow more people access to affordable care,” said Dr. Knudsen. “Without action, many cancer patients who are undergoing treatment will face skyrocketing premiums when the current extension expires. We look forward to working with the president and Congress to make the enhanced credits permanent so that individuals facing a cancer diagnosis can receive the comprehensive care they need.”

In addition, the President also mentioned signing the PACT Act in law, which expands Veterans Administration health care and benefits for veterans exposed to burn pits and other toxic substances. 

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