In the past 20 years, we’ve seen enormous progress in research and discovery for blood related cancers, particularly in childhood leukemia and some adult blood cancers. As a result, this deadly disease is increasingly becoming a chronic condition that patients live with rather than die from.
But our enormous progress is being undermined and could soon be reversed due to inadequate federal funding when we need commitment and conviction the most. Over the past four years, federal funding for cancer research has been flat or declined as research has become more expensive.
Reduced support for cancer research could lead to delays in the development of new screenings and treatments that could help detect cancer early and save lives. Some research groups have already terminated lifesaving clinical trials.
As someone who lost a sister to leukemia, and a Leukemia and Lymphoma Society volunteer, I don’t understand how anyone would think our country can afford to curb its investment in blood cancer research.
Leaders in Congress say they are committed to funding the fight against cancer, but so far they have given it a lower priority than hundreds of other programs. The House of Representatives proposed a 1.5 percent increase for the National Cancer Institute, the nation’s premier cancer research institution, far less than the average 6.4 percent increase for other health and education programs.
With the increased costs associated with medical research, that does not even keep pace with last year, let alone the declining budgets of the last few years.
I urge Rep. John Barrow to support residents here in this area living with blood-related cancer and those who will be diagnosed with the disease by committing to increase funding for cancer research at a minimum at the rate of medical inflation. Simply put — the greater our investments the more lives we will save.