Congressional & national cancer leaders discussed strides in research since National Cancer Act was signed into law on Dec. 23, 1971 & goals moving forward
Congressman Brian Higgins and Roswell Park CEO Dr. Candace Johnson recently joined a Congressional Cancer Caucus briefing with National Cancer Institute director Dr. Ned Sharpless and other national leaders discussing the National Cancer Act, which was signed into law on Dec. 23, 1971, and efforts to continue making strides in cancer research and treatment.
As co-chair of the Cancer Caucus, Higgins has long advocated for significant federal investments in cancer research and treatment. He spoke to members and national leaders during the briefing saying during the discussion, “So many strides have been made. Before the ‘War on Cancer’ was declared, less than 50% of those who were diagnosed lived beyond five years of the diagnosis. Today it’s 65% for adults and over 80% for kids. That is a major, major step forward attributed to the great work of all of those who do cancer research, but also to the federal government’s commitment to funding groundbreaking research.”
Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center is one of the first and oldest designated comprehensive cancer centers in the U.S. Johnson spoke before the caucus stating, in part, “In 50 years we’ve really accomplished a lot. We’ve come a long way. But, as I think you’ve heard from the other speakers here today, we have a long way to go. Incentivizing screening programs could really make a huge difference in what we can do going forward. We can’t lose sight of the cusp that we’re on right now with some very innovative science out there and continuing to fund it, with a very strong emphasis on screening.”
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the National Cancer Act of 1971, which established the National Cancer Institute, federal cancer prevention, treatment and research programs, and designated comprehensive cancer centers. Roswell Park was a significant advocate for the passage of this legislation. In the 50 years since this major federal investment began, they have established themselves as a leader in research and treatment, as well as a model for cancer centers nationwide.
In October, Higgins joined Roswell Park to celebrate its 50th year as a designated comprehensive cancer center at the “We Set the Model” event discussing the breakthroughs in research and innovation in treatment that resulted from this historic legislation.
His team stated, “As we continue to fight the war on cancer in Western New York and around the world, current and future federal investments are critical in order to find cures for cancer of all types.”