WASHINGTON, D.C.—Cancer advocates are urging Congress to prioritize cancer prevention, detection, research and palliative care in any forthcoming year-end legislative package as a way to accelerate progress against the disease and end cancer as we know it.
In a letter sent to leadership Wednesday, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network details the numerous ways lawmakers can help reduce incidence and suffering from a disease that is estimated to kill more than 609,000 Americans this year.
The letter urges Congress to:
- Allocate a $4.1 billion increase in federal funding for research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), including a $853 million increase for the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and a $72.8 million boost for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) cancer programs.
- Pass the Medicare Multi-Cancer Early Detection Screening Coverage Act to create a pathway for Medicare to cover multi-cancer early detection tests once the Food and Drug Administration approves their use and clinical benefit is shown.
- Pass the Palliative Care and Hospice Education Act, to improve patient quality of life by increasing access to services that address the entire continuum of patient needs from the point of diagnosis through survivorship.
“Congress has a real opportunity to help address some of the most pressing issues facing cancer patients today,” said Lisa Lacasse, president of ACS CAN. “These important policies, spanning the entire cancer continuum, should be on lawmakers’ must-do list for the end of the year as each of their constituents knows someone who has been personally impacted by this disease.”
As part of that effort, ACS CAN has launched a national advertising campaign highlighting top priorities for those impacted by cancer which will run in print and digital publications in national outlets as well as in targeted regional outlets nationwide. ACS CAN also partnered with other cancer groups on new advertising that launched this week urging Congress to pass the Medicare Multi-Cancer Early Detection Screening Coverage Act, which is running in national publications in the Washington, D.C. market.
“Congress must act now to ensure that advancements in cancer research, prevention, detection, and treatment continue as quickly as possible. These policies would make a significant difference in the lives of cancer patients, survivors and their families,” said Lacasse.
As Congress works to finish its business before the end of the year, ACS CAN is also advocating for passage of the DIVERSE Trials Act to facilitate more equitable patient access to clinical trials, the VALID Act to modernize regulation of laboratory developed tests, including those used to determine a cancer diagnosis and treatment options, and increased funding for Medicaid in Puerto Rico and other U.S. territories.
For more details, read the letter.