ACS CAN Celebrates the 50th Anniversary of the Signing of the National Cancer Act

December 20, 2021

Washington, D.C.—The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network is celebrating the 50th anniversary of President Richard Nixon’s signing of the National Cancer Act into law. The law, which took effect December 23, 1971, transformed the nation’s approach to preventing, detecting, and treating the disease.

Lisa Lacasse, president of ACS CAN, issued the following statement on the anniversary:

“The National Cancer Act of 1971 prioritized the fight against a disease that is expected to kill more than 600,000 in this country alone this year. This broad legislation gave our country a holistic approach to addressing cancer and its many challenges, including granting new authority to the National Cancer Institute and establishing some of the programs that form the backbone of today’s cancer research enterprise.

“Since the law’s signing, federal cancer research efforts have been behind every major breakthrough in this disease, from improved understanding of cancer risk factors and prevention methods to new treatments and technology that have helped significantly reduce the mortality rate of all cancers.

“Throughout this transformation, the American Cancer Society and its advocacy affiliate, ACS CAN, have steadfastly worked to accelerate advancements through increased federal cancer research and proven public health policies, resulting in a 27% decline in mortality for all cancers combined since 1971 and a 32% decline since 1991 when mortality rates were highest.

“The last 50 years of progress provide an excellent foundation for the advances we must strive for in the next 50 years, including addressing significant disparities in health equity so that everyone has a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat and survive this disease.

“We believe the combination of Congress’s strong bipartisan commitment to cancer research, a president who wants to ‘end cancer as we know it’, and the unwavering dedication of researchers, medical providers and of patient advocates will make the next 50 years in cancer care even more remarkable. We look forward to celebrating even more lifesaving achievements.”

Media Contacts

Allison Miller
Director, Media Advocacy
Washington DC
Alissa Crispino
Vice President, Advocacy Communications & Policy
Washington DC