You know, I don’t usually use this site as an advocacy tool, but I probably should given the enormous inequities in funding for cancer research and especially pediatric cancer research. That is a topic for another day but right now, I’m going to simply copy an email that went out yesterday from CureSearch, the nation’s major fundraising arm of the Children’s Oncology Group, which coordinates, conducts and shares all the research and treatments done on childhood cancers among more than 210 hospitals across the country. (St. Baldrick’s funnels its dollars through CureSearch as well to fund grants for member hospitals.)
There are so many reasons to hope that our nation’s leaders are able to reach an agreement on the budgets for this and next year, but for me, right now, today, cancer research is one reason that cuts across all the boundaries that usually divide us.
Hard to disagree with funding research for the more than 13,500 children who will be diagnosed this year. Or for the more than two-thirds of those who will face devastating late effects from their treatment (like Austin). Or for the more than 2,500 who die each year.
Hard to disagree with that.
And now, the official message:
URGENT Action Alert
Dear CureSearch Advocate:
As many of you are aware, there is a lot of Congressional debate around both FY 11 appropriations and the FY 12 budget this week.
Last week, a letter
was sent from One Voice for Against Cancer (OVAC) Member Organizations (OVAC is a coalition of Oncology Patient Advocate Organizations) to House and Senate leaders. The letter urges House and Senate leaders to work together to restore the funding that was cut in the original proposal H.R. 1 for programs involved in the fight against cancer.
As of today, Congress and the Administration are at an impasse on FY 11 spending. If no deal is reached by Friday, government operations will shut down. This would impact cancer research and prevention programs in the following ways:
· New patient enrollment in clinical trials would be discontinued;
· No new grants would be awarded;
· Patient information hotlines, such as 800-4- CANCER, would not be staffed;
· CDC grants would not be awarded; and,
· Additional health care family services might not be staffed
The latest rumors about the negotiations suggest that the Democratic and Republican parties are still several billion dollars apart and that there is also disagreement over the policy riders that are in H.R. 1. Based on the current state of play, the NIH would be cut by a smaller amount than what was included in H.R. 1. The funding level for the CDC would be comparable to the level provided in H.R. 1.
We urge CureSearch Advocates to call members of Congress with the following message. Members of Congress should be asked to encourage their leadership to complete their work on FY 11 and to reject cuts to NIH cancer research programs.
The House Budget Committee is marking up its FY 12 Budget Resolution this week. The mark-up is expected to last until midnight. Many amendments are expected to be offered by members on both sides of the aisle. It is expected that at least one amendment will be offered to protect NIH funding. More information on this amendment and the committee mark-up will be provided as it becomes available.
Suggested talking points:
While progress has been made in the fight against children’s cancer, there is still much to be done. We recognize the difficult fiscal choices confronting Congress in today’s environment, we nevertheless urge Congress to provide NCI and its children’s cancer research programs with the support necessary to maintain and expand the gains made in recent years. Please continue your support for NIH and the critical role it plays in developing and maintaining treatment options to cure children’s cancer.
The pediatric cancer research enterprise has made great strides in the last 40 years by increasing the overall 5-year childhood survival rates to 78 percent, but our work will not be complete until we reach 100 percent. In fact, the mortality rate for some solid tumors and rare cancers has changed very little in the last decade. Cancer remains the leading cause of death by disease for our nation’s children, claiming the lives of approximately 2,500 children each year. When measured in life years lost, this devastation is even more dramatic. Further, the treatments used to save children’s cancer patients are highly toxic and can have serious long-term health consequences. Approximately two thirds of all childhood cancer survivors will experience a late-effect from their treatment, some of which are severe or life threatening. In short, we need more effective, safer therapies for our children to give them longer, healthier lives. Reduced funding will halt progress and squander advances.
Children’s Cancer Facts
· Each year, 13,500 children are diagnosed with cancer.
· Children’s cancer affects all ethnic, gender and socio-economic groups.
· The average age of children diagnosed is six.
· More than 40,000 children undergo treatment for cancer each year.
CureSearch for Children’s Cancer
4600 East West Highway
Bethesda, MD 20814
Contact Name: Cynthia Duncan
Telephone Number: (240) 235-2212