Mariah Forster Olson, an ACS CAN Ambassador Constituent Team Lead (ACT Lead), traveled to Washington, D.C. this week to share her story as a childhood cancer survivor and to advocate on behalf of other patients and survivors during the 2019 Childhood Cancer Action Days.
Sequestration Dangerously Cuts Cancer Research Funding
Undoubtedly you saw the countdowns on your local news stations sequestration took effect on Friday. Sequestration is what Washington is calling the $85 billion in across-the-board budget cuts to domestic and defense discretionary spending agreed upon in the 2011 Budget Control Act. While a lot remains unknown about how the cuts will affect us, we know one thing is for sure: funding for cancer research and prevention programs is taking a dangerous hit.
Sequestration cuts the NIH budget by $1.6 billion, or 5.1 percent. This brings the agency's spending level to that of FY 2008 without even considering the increased cost of medical research. That could mean 1,380 fewer research grants are funded in FY 2013 and could lead to 20,500 fewer jobs. And as Dr. Ed Partridge, director of the University of Alabama at Birmingham Comprehensive Cancer Center and former National Volunteer President of the American Cancer Society, says, You can't turn research on and off like a light switch. Drastic, disruptive cuts to research funding could put an end to promising research projects midstream and, ultimately, compromise progress in the fight against cancer.
The NIH isn't the only agency that will feel these dramatic cuts the CDC's budget will be cut as well, undermining our nation's ability to apply what is already working in cancer detection and prevention. Sequester will mean that the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program will provide 32,000 fewer breast and cervical cancer screenings in the current fiscal year to women who have no other option for affordable, lifesaving screenings. The CDC would also have to drastically cut funding for its Colorectal Cancer Program (CRCCP), which currently helps 25 states and four tribal organizations implement colorectal cancer education, awareness and screening programs for low-income and uninsured men and women.
This list isn't exhaustive there are critical tobacco control efforts, including tobacco Quitlines, community obesity prevention programs and other cancer-fighting efforts that will feel the effects of these cuts. That's why ACS CAN volunteers across the country are reaching out to their members of Congress, calling on them to restore this critical funding. They've sent us their heart-warming stories about why cancer research funding is so important to their family and friends, and we're sharing those stories with lawmakers on Capitol Hill.
As the president and members of Congress figure out the next steps for eliminating or managing these cuts, ACS CAN is making the voices of cancer patients and survivors heard loud and clear that Congress needs to work in a bipartisan effort to quickly restore funding for cancer research and prevention programs and make the fight against cancer a top national priority.