Fully Funding Research Today Will Save America Billions of Dollars and Millions of Lives
Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-27) was joined by Dr. Donald Trump, Associate Institute Director for Roswell Park Cancer Institute as he announced efforts to push for adequate funding in the 2008 federal budget for cancer research through the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Cancer costs America more in one year – an estimated $300 billion in health and lost productivity – than the federal government spent to fund NIH research over the last 20 years.
“Severe cuts to cancer funding puts America at serious risk of losing the momentum toward an ambitious and worthy goal put forth by the American Cancer Society to eliminate death and suffering due to cancer by the year 2015,” said Congressman Higgins. “Today’s research leads to tomorrow’s cures. This new Congress has an opportunity to demonstrate a new direction in federal policy making - one that focuses on substantial issues that deeply impact and change the lives of Americans. Eradicating cancer death and suffering in this decade should be America’s goal.”
In a letter sent to House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi last week, Congressman Higgins calls for Congress to fully fund cancer research at levels requested by the National Institute for Health (NIH). The President’s $2.7 trillion budget for 2007 reduced funding for virtually every cancer research and prevention program totaling $40 million this year, $70 million last year and $250 million over the past five years. His proposed budget for 2008 includes more cuts to cancer funding, down to $4.782 billion or an $11.4 million cut below the 2007 continuing resolution.
"For the second year in a row the number of actual cancer deaths has declined in the United States," said Donald L. Trump, MD, Associate Director of Roswell Park Cancer Institute. "Translating research into treatments takes years.
Decreased federal funding will significantly slow research discoveries and the development of new cancer treatments."
If NIH funding trends don’t improve, by 2008 funding will drop below historic average levels and by 2012 America stands to lose everything it gained by increases to funding under the prior Administration.
Suzanne Carrow, a patient at Roswell Park Cancer Institute who lives in Congressman Higgins, also spoke about her personal experiences in clinical trials and the importance of funding cancer research.
Men today have a one in two likelihood of developing invasive cancer in their lifetime; women have a one in three chance. Last year more than one million new cancer cases were diagnosed and 500,000 people died from cancer. Thirty years ago, fewer than fifty percent of those with cancer lived five years beyond their diagnosis date. The survival rate today is sixty-five percent for adults and eighty percent for children.