American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) volunteers were on Capitol Hill May 15 with more than 100 other cancer patients, survivors, caregivers, physicians, and researchers representing more than 50 cancer organizations to share poll results that show overwhelming public support for continued robust and sustained federal investment in cancer research, and urge lawmakers to make fighting cancer a top national priority.
These advocates united as part of the 19th annual One Voice Against Cancer (OVAC) lobby day to ask their legislators to fund cancer research at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and National Institutes of Health (NIH), as well as cancer prevention funding at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
A poll recently commissioned by OVAC, found that nearly 92 percent of voters say federal medical research funding, including for cancer, is "extremely" or "very" important. Seventy-three percent say they support Congress' decision to increase NIH funding by $3 billion in the FY 2018 omnibus bill, and nearly 70 percent say they favor continued significant budget increases for NIH.
Additionally, 68 percent of all voters—including 47 percent of Republican voters—oppose significant NIH budget cuts proposed by the president, and 60 percent of respondents say Congress should continue to increase investments in medical research even in light of increasing national debt.
Additionally, 87 percent of voters say federal funding for state and local cancer prevention programs through the CDC is "extremely" or "very" important, and 60 percent think CDC funding should be increased.
"Cancer doesn't care how old you are, where you live, or what political party you support," said Caroline Powers, ACS CAN federal relations director and OVAC chair. "ACS CAN volunteers are uniting with cancer advocates from across the country to urge lawmakers to put medical research ahead of politics and make cancer a national priority by guaranteeing strong and sustained funding that will spur discovery and eventually eliminate death and suffering from this disease."
OVAC volunteers took part in scheduled meetings with members of Congress and their staff. Together, OVAC volunteers urged Congress to capitalize on the promise of recent NIH investments, including the 21st Century Cures Act, and support new research and maintain momentum in ongoing discoveries. Specifically, they asked Congress to:
- Provide at least $39.3 billion for the NIH in FY 19, including funding provided from the 21st Century Cures Act
- Support $6.375 billion for the NCI
- Support $517 million for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) cancer programs
"For decades, research supported by the NIH and the NCI has played a key role in virtually every major cancer prevention, detection and treatment discovery," Caroline said. "While recent funding increases for the agencies has begun to reverse course after years of flat or reduced funding, funding is still far below where it should be when accounting for the increased cost of doing research. Congress should seize this important opportunity to fully get cancer progress back on track."
More than 1.7 million people will be newly diagnosed with the cancer in America this year and cancer is expected to kill more than 600,000 people in this country – 1,650 today. Annual cancer incidence rates are projected to increase by 31 percent over the next decade, growing to 2.1 million people diagnosed with cancer in 2025.