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Senators mark 40th anniversary of Cancer Act

Local Relay for Life organizers uplifted by announcement

POSTED December 14, 2011 4:22 p.m.
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U.S. Sens. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., and Sherrod Br...

WASHINGTON, D.C. – On the 40th anniversary of the National Cancer Act, U.S. Sens. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., and Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, Tuesday reaffirmed America’s commitment to battle the disease while the introducing a bipartisan resolution recognizing the nation’s commitment to cancer research.
Moran is the lead Republican sponsor of the resolution, which has numerous Senate co-sponsors and is supported by more than 100 cancer-fighting groups. More than 12 million Americans have survived cancer due in part to the  commitment to research and advances in prevention, detection, diagnosis and treatment, Moran said in a joint news conference at his Washington office building.
“With passage of the National Cancer Act 40 years ago this month, our nation coordinated a focused effort to combat cancer through research,” Moran said. “Today, the National Cancer Institute and its parent agency, the National Institutes of Health, support critical research across the country, enhancing the work of universities, medical schools, teaching hospitals, private bioscience businesses and research institutions in every state. This national commitment to research has saved millions of lives and billions of dollars.”
With a focus on advocacy and keeping up the fight, Relay for Life of Barton County organizers were buoyed by the news.
“It is a great feeling to know that the people that we elect in Kansas are as committed to ending cancer as we are in Barton County,” said  Linn Hogg, local relay advocacy chair. “Not only has Sen. Moran taken a stand on this issue, he is making a statement in Washington, D.C., that cancer research must remain a top priority in the national budget.”
Hogg said it has been proven with many a statistic that research has extended lives creating more birthdays. “That means another birthday for you, your spouse, your children and your friends. We have a long way to go. Make your voice known. Let Sen. Moran know that you are behind is efforts.”
“Virtually all of us know someone who has been affected by cancer,” Brown said during the conference. “We know a survivor – or remember a victim. We know that cancer affects not just the patient, but also parents, family, friends, and loved ones.”
This year, more than 1.5 million Americans are expected to be diagnosed with cancer. One out of every three women and one out of every two men will develop cancer in their lifetimes. “But we also know that behind the statistics are stories of perseverance and strength—stories that motivate us to fight harder and with one voice.” Brown said.
Since the act was signed into law in 1971, the five-year survival rate for all cancers combined has risen consistently,  Moran said. “As a direct result of our nation’s commitment to cancer research, we have come to understand more about the nature of cancer, its complexity, and the tools needed to fight this disease effectively. With this resolution, we reaffirm our commitment to advancing important cancer research and saving lives.”
But challenges remain, and that’s why along with celebrating the anniversary of the act, there is a pledge to advancing cancer research, Brown said. The pledge makes this national priority and is a step towards “making sure cancer is a thing of the past.”
Given the progress made over the last century and the potential current research holds, Moran believes the United States must not waiver on its commitment. In September, he offered an amendment to restore funding to the National Institutes of Health budget. This amendment was fully offset and would have prioritized medical research without adding a dime to our nation’s annual deficit.
The resolution has more than 40 Senate co-sponsors, both Democratic and Republican, and is supported by more than 100 patient groups, cancer institutes, hospitals, and medical schools. The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center, the University of Kansas Cancer Center, the Cleveland Clinic Taussig Cancer Institute, and the Case Western Comprehensive Cancer Center, among others, have endorsed the resolution.

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