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House Spending Bill Fails to Recognize Cancer as a Top National Priority

WASHINGTON – February 15, 2011 – The U.S. House of Representatives is considering an FY 2011 spending bill that would make major cuts to federal cancer research, prevention and early detection programs, and could set back the longstanding national effort to conquer cancer.

“This legislation could jeopardize our continued ability to make strides in our national mission to end death and suffering related to cancer,” said John R. Seffrin, Ph.D., chief executive officer of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN).  “Without a commitment to sustained funding for proven prevention programs and research to find new screening tools and treatments for cancers where we lack answers, we will waste timely opportunities to capitalize on past advances and risk future progress.”

The legislation includes a 21 percent cut for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which includes proven cancer screening programs like the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (NBCCEDP).  The NBCCEDP has provided 9 million mammograms and Pap tests to more than 3.7 million medically underserved and uninsured women in its 20-year history.  The bill also slashes the budget at the National Institutes of Health by 5.2 percent.

“We are on the verge of making unprecedented progress that could change the way we prevent and treat cancer in this country, thanks in no small part to previous federal investment in cancer research,” said Christopher W. Hansen, president of ACS CAN.  “Without a commitment to sustained funding from the federal government the promise of recent discoveries may never become reality.”

An additional area of concern is the bill’s reallocation of the new Public Health Fund – a historic investment in elevating the national focus on prevention. The continuing resolution compromises our newfound potential to detect many more cancers early and prevent some altogether.

Families touched by cancer could also be negatively impacted by proposed amendments that would eliminate implementation funding for the patient protection provisions of the Affordable Care Act.  If adopted, these amendments could leave cancer patients, survivors and their loved ones vulnerable to limited coverage options that are often unaffordable and inadequate to meet their health care needs.

It’s estimated that in 2010 more than 1.5 million people would be diagnosed with cancer and 569,000 would die from the disease.

ACS CAN, the advocacy affiliate of the American Cancer Society, is calling on lawmakers to make cancer a national priority and refrain from the short-sighted approach to dealing with a tough budget environment by passing a bill that jeopardizes progress in the fight to defeat this disease.  Cuts to lifesaving screening programs, promising research endeavors and critical patient protections that will improve access to care for families touched by cancer will prove far more costly in the long run. 

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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