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Administration Budget Proposal Invests in Medical Research but Underfunds Cancer Prevention

WASHINGTON – February 14, 2011 – The White House budget proposal released today builds on the president’s commitment to medical innovation with increased investment in cancer research, but it underfunds proven prevention measures such as cancer screening programs that have fallen victim to a tough budget environment.

The president’s budget proposal would boost cancer research funding by nearly $1 billion in fiscal year 2012 over current funding levels, an investment that would capitalize on recent advances such as the mapping of the human genome that have enabled researchers to develop targeted therapies for some of the most difficult to treat cancers. Unfortunately, while the proposal prioritizes investment in research, it threatens the future of critical programs at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that historically have expanded access to proven prevention cancer screening and tobacco cessation programs.

“The budget proposal takes important steps toward capitalizing on past investments in cancer research, but it gives short shrift to proven prevention programs that are saving lives,” said John R. Seffrin, Ph.D., chief executive officer of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN). “Eliminating death and suffering from this disease altogether requires a comprehensive approach to prevent what we can and find screening tools and treatments for the cancers where we don't have answers.”

The National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (NBCCEDP) is one of the CDC’s successful programs that would face significant cuts under the budget proposal. In its 20-year history, the program has provided nine million screening tests to more than 3.7 million low-income, underinsured and uninsured women. Already dramatically underfunded, the program is serving fewer than one in five eligible women under the age of 64 nationally.

“We could prevent 60 percent of cancer deaths by applying what we already know,” said Christopher W. Hansen, president of ACS CAN. “When proven prevention programs are slashed, we undermine past investment in research and squander the opportunity to further our progress in the fight to defeat a disease that affects far too many Americans.”

Last year, it’s estimated that more than 1.5 million people were told they had cancer, and 569,000 people died from the disease in America.

ACS CAN is calling on Congress to reinstate critical funding for cancer prevention and tobacco cessation programs, and to build on the President’s proposal to fund cancer research in a way that consistently builds on past advances in an effort to maximize future progress.

ACS CAN, the nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate of the American Cancer Society, supports evidence-based policy and legislative solutions designed to eliminate cancer as a major health problem. ACS CAN works to encourage elected officials and candidates to make cancer a top national priority. ACS CAN gives ordinary people extraordinary power to fight cancer with the training and tools they need to make their voices heard. For more information, visit

Alissa Havens or Steven Weiss
American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network
Phone: (202) 661-5772 or (202) 661-5711
Email: or  


ACS CAN is the nation's leading cancer advocacy organization that is working every day to make cancer issues a national priority. More

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