House Proposal Signals Retreat in War on Cancer


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Statement from Donald Distasio, CEO, American Cancer Society of NY & NJ, in response to proposed budget cuts in the U.S. House of Representatives that would decimate cancer programs.

“A generation ago, President Nixon declared a war on cancer.  Tomorrow the House will call for an all-out retreat when it votes on one of the most devastating bills ever for cancer patients.  It's no exaggeration - enacting this bill is short-sighted and will mean more suffering and death from cancer.  That is the stark truth.

Massive cuts in cancer research, awareness, prevention and detection will turn back the clock to a time when the word “cancer” was whispered, if it was even uttered at all.  The promise of a world where cancer is no longer a major health threat can be achieved, but only if we keep the momentum moving forward.  If we slow down, we risk losing the ground we've gained and we will cost our nation far more resources and lives in the long run.

The American Cancer Society understands lawmakers are under a lot of pressure to cut budgets and reduce the deficit, but this is not the way to do it.  Cancer already claims too many American lives and costs too much.  In 2010 alone, the overall cost of fighting cancer in the U.S. topped $263.8 billion.  Cutting these programs will ensure that this amount increases, not decreases, in the future.  

The American Cancer Society strongly urges members of the House to reconsider spending cuts to the FY 2011 budget that affect programs that fight cancer, and ultimately save the nation dollars, and the lives of its citizens.”

Proposed cuts to vital cancer programs:

  • U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - a 21 percent cut or $1.4 billion 
  • National Institutes of Health - a 5.2 percent cut or $1.6 billion


About the American Cancer Society
The American Cancer Society combines an unyielding passion with nearly a century of experience to save lives and end suffering from cancer. As a global grassroots force of more than three million volunteers, we fight for every birthday threatened by every cancer in every community. We save lives by helping people stay well by preventing cancer or detecting it early; helping people get well by being there for them during and after a cancer diagnosis; by finding cures through investment in groundbreaking discovery; and by fighting back by rallying lawmakers to pass laws to defeat cancer and by rallying communities worldwide to join the fight. As the nation’s largest non-governmental investor in cancer research, contributing more than $3.4 billion, we turn what we know about cancer into what we do. As a result, more than 11 million people in America who have had cancer and countless more who have avoided it will be celebrating birthdays this year. To learn more about us or to get help, call us any time, day or night, at 1-800-227-2345 or visit

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