Resolution Has More Than 40 Democratic and Republican Cosponsors
WASHINGTON, D.C. –U.S. Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Jerry Moran (R-KS) today commemorated the 40th anniversary of the signing of the National Cancer Act and announced the introduction of a bipartisan resolution recognizing our nation’s commitment to cancer research. More than 12 million Americans have survived cancer, thanks in part to the United States’ commitment to cancer research and due to advances in cancer prevention, detection, diagnosis, and treatment.
“Virtually all of us know someone who has been affected by cancer. We know a survivor—or remember a victim. We know that cancer affects not just the patient, but also parents, family, friends, and loved ones,” Sen. Brown said. “This year, more than 1.5 million Americans are expected to be diagnosed with cancer. One out of every 3 women and one out of every 2 men will develop cancer in their lifetimes. But we also know that behind the statistics are stories of perseverance and strength—stories that motivate us to fight harder and with one voice.
“Today, 12 million cancer survivors are alive because of advances in the way we prevent, detect, diagnose, and treat cancer. And because of investments by the National Cancer Institute and NIH, critical cancer research is being conducted across the country. There are scientists performing research in labs in Cleveland, and physicians leading clinical research with patients in Columbus,” Sen. Brown added. “But we also know challenges remain, and that’s why in celebrating the 40th Anniversary of the National Cancer Act, we also pledge our commitment to advancing cancer research. Today’s bipartisan cancer resolution reaffirms that commitment to address this national priority—and making sure cancer is a thing of the past.”
“With passage of the National Cancer Act 40 years ago this month, our nation coordinated a focused effort to combat cancer through research,” Sen. Moran said. “Today, the National Cancer Institute and its parent agency, the National Institutes of Health, support critical research across the country, enhancing the work of universities, medical schools, teaching hospitals, private bioscience businesses and research institutions in every state. This national commitment to research has saved millions of lives and billions of dollars.”
“Since the National Cancer Act was signed into law in 1971, the 5-year survival rate for all cancers combined has risen consistently,” Sen. Moran continued. “As a direct result of our nation’s commitment to cancer research, we have come to understand more about the nature of cancer, its complexity, and the tools we need to fight this disease effectively. But much work remains – more than 1.5 million Americans are expected to be diagnosed with cancer this year. With this resolution, we reaffirm our commitment to advancing important cancer research and saving lives.”
The resolution has more than 40 Senate co-sponsors, both Democratic and Republican, and is supported by more than 100 patient groups, cancer institutes, hospitals, and medical schools. The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center, the University of Kansas Cancer Center, the Cleveland Clinic Taussig Cancer Institute, and the Case Western Comprehensive Cancer Center, among others, have endorsed the resolution.
The text of the resolution is below.
Recognizing the 40th anniversary of the National Cancer Act of 1971 and the more than 12,000,000 survivors of cancer alive today because of the commitment of the United States to cancer research and advances in cancer prevention, detection, diagnosis, and treatment.
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;
Whereas the passage of the National Cancer Act of 1971 led to the establishment of the National Cancer Program, which significantly expanded the authorities and responsibilities of the National Cancer Institute, a component of the National Institutes of Health;
Whereas the term “cancer” refers to more than 200 diseases that collectively represent the leading cause of death for people in the United States under the age of 85, and the second leading cause of death for people in the United States overall;
Whereas cancer touches everyone, either through a direct, personal diagnosis or indirectly through the diagnosis of a family member or friend;
Whereas, in 2011, cancer remains one of the most pressing public health concerns in the United States, with more than 1,500,000 people in the United States expected to be diagnosed with cancer each year;
Whereas the National Institutes of Health estimated the overall cost of cancer to be greater than $260,000,000,000 in 2010 alone;
Whereas approximately 1 out of every 3 women and 1 out of every 2 men will develop cancer in their lifetimes, and more than 570,000 people in the United States will die from cancer this year, which is more than 1 person every minute and nearly 1 out of every 4 deaths;
Whereas the commitment of the United States to cancer research and biomedical science has enabled more than 12,000,000 people in the United States to survive cancer, 15 percent of whom were diagnosed 20 or more years ago, and has resulted in extraordinary progress being made against cancer, including—
(1) an increase in the average 5-year survival rate for all cancers combined to 68 percent for adults and 80 percent for children and adolescents, up from 50 percent and 52 percent, respectively, in 1971;
(2) average 5-year survival rates for breast and prostate cancers exceeding 90 percent;
(3) a decline in mortality due to colorectal cancer and prostate cancer; and
(4) from 1990 to 2007, a decline in the death rate from all cancers combined of 22 percent for men and 14 percent for women, resulting in nearly 900,000 fewer deaths during that period;
Whereas the driving force behind this progress has been support for the National Cancer Institute and its parent agency, the National Institutes of Health, which funds the work of more than 325,000 researchers and research personnel at more than 3,000 universities, medical schools, medical centers, teaching hospitals, small businesses, and research institutions in every State;
Whereas the commitment of the United States to cancer research has yielded substantial returns in both research advances and lives saved, and it is estimated that every 1 percent decline in cancer mortality saves the economy of the United States $500,000,000,000 annually;
Whereas advancements in understanding the causes and mechanisms of cancer and improvements in the detection, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of cancer have led to cures for many types of cancers and have converted other types of cancers into manageable chronic conditions;
Whereas continued support for clinical trials to evaluate the efficacy and therapeutic benefit of promising treatments for cancer is essential for translating new knowledge and discoveries into tangible benefits for patients, especially because all standard cancer therapies began as clinical trials;
Whereas, despite the significant progress that has been made in treating many cancers, there remain those cancers for which the mortality rate is extraordinarily high, including pancreatic, liver, lung, multiple myeloma, ovarian, esophageal, stomach, and brain cancers, which have a 5-year survival rate of less than 50 percent;
Whereas research advances concerning uncommon cancers, which pose unique treatment challenges, provide an opportunity for understanding the general properties of human cancers and curing uncommon cancers as well as more common cancers;
Whereas crucial developments have been achieved in cancer research that could provide breakthroughs necessary to address the increasing incidence of, and reduce deaths caused by, many forms of cancer;
Whereas research into the effect of certain forms of cancer on different population groups offers a significant opportunity to lessen the burden of the disease, because many population groups across the country suffer disproportionately from certain forms of cancer; and
Whereas a sustained commitment to the research of the National Institutes of Health and the National Cancer Institute is necessary to improve the entire spectrum of patient care, from cancer prevention, early detection, and diagnosis, to treatment and long-term survivorship, and to prevent research advances from being stalled or delayed: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That the Senate—
(1) recognizes the 40th anniversary of the National Cancer Act of 1971 (Public Law 92–218; 85 Stat. 778); and
(2) celebrates and reaffirms the commitment embodied in the National Cancer Act of 1971, specifically, that support for cancer research continues to be a national priority to address the scope of this pressing public health concern.