Throughout the year, ACS CAN and its volunteers work to impact the cancer burden by making sure lawmakers are aware of the issues that matter to them at all levels of government. September marks one of the most powerful and exciting times of the year as we gather hundreds of our advocates in the nation’s capital as part of our annual Leadership Summit and Lobby Day.
One Degree Goal Met With Historic Boost for Cancer Research
Three years ago, ACS CAN launched the One Degree campaign, calling on Congress to increase federal funding for medical research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) by $6 billion, including $1 billion for cancer-specific research at the National Cancer Institute (NCI). It was a lofty goal – but an important one to reverse too many years of flat or reduced funding.
Everyone is just one degree from someone with cancer – a loved one, friend, coworker or they’ve received a personal diagnosis. The theme of the campaign resonated with members of Congress on both sides of the aisle.
In late 2016, lawmakers passed the 21st Century Cures Act -- including robust funding for the Cancer Moonshot Initiative - and yesterday, Congress passed the largest increase for research funding in 15 years in the Fiscal Year 2018 spending bill. Cancer research at the NCI has specifically increased by more than $1 billion since 2015. That boost gets us over the goal line of the One Degree campaign.
The impact of this increased federal investment will be life-changing for millions of Americans. The influx of funding will lead to new cures, better treatments and more ways to prevent and detect cancer at its earliest, most treatable stages.
This is a pivotal moment and I’m incredibly proud of this hard-fought achievement following years of advocacy by staff and volunteers across the country.
Another goal of the One Degree campaign was to make it a strong bipartisan effort to reach this funding level. We achieved this. Our elected officials should be commended for prioritizing these critically important dollars to fight a disease that is expected to claim the lives of more than 600,000 Americans this year. It is my sincere hope that lawmakers recognize sustaining this robust funding level year over year will be critical to our success in eliminating suffering and death from cancer.