In Committee Testimony, Congressman Higgins Advocates for Substantial Increase to Federal Investment in Cancer Research
Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) testified before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies to push for a greater federal investment in the fight to beat cancer.
Higgins, who serves as Co-Chair of the bipartisan Cancer Caucus, said, “As cancer cases and deaths increase as an indirect consequence of COVID, there will be additional pressure on the cancer research community to find new ways to prevent, treat, and cure cancer. Congress must continue to increase funding for NCI to re-gain the ground lost by the interruption, and in some cases termination, of vital cancer research over the past year, like that being done at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center in my district in Buffalo, New York.”
Higgins pointed out that the National Cancer Institute (NCI) estimates there will be an additional 10,000 deaths from breast and colorectal cancer due to delayed screenings related to the COVID pandemic. New guidelines issued this week by the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force lowers the recommended age to begin colorectal cancer screenings from age 50 to age 45.
Earlier this year Congressman Higgins introduced H.R. 107, the Lung Cancer Screening Registry and Quality Improvement Act. He noted that only six percent of adults for whom it is recommended undergo screening for lung cancer, which remains the deadliest of cancers. Higgins urged the committee to support expansion of the lung cancer screening registry to help address racial health disparities and deaths due to lung cancer.
Higgins asked the subcommittee to support at least $7.6 billion in funding for the National Cancer Institute in fiscal year 2022, a significant increase from the $6.56 billion authorized for FY21 and to prioritize funding for additional lung cancer screening registries at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.