Helping fight against cancer

Ellen Schafer, Bismarck

This year in North Dakota, it is estimated that 3,730 people will be diagnosed with cancer. For them, the cuts to cancer research that took place as a result of the sequester last year hit close to home. Because of these cuts, 1,000 fewer people were able to enroll in potentially life-saving clinical trials last past year and the National Institutes of Health, the nation’s medical research center, lost more than $1.5 billion, a reality felt by cancer research labs across the country.

I’m asking Congress to do what’s right for cancer patients and their families by supporting an increase in funding for the National Cancer Institute at NIH.

There are nearly 14 million cancer survivors alive in the United States today because of past cancer research breakthroughs. But resting on past progress is a dangerous proposition. Leaving these cuts to federal research in place could cost us the progress made in the fight against cancer.

I urge members of Congress to consider what’s at stake for families impacted by cancer that might be counting on the next big breakthrough in treatment or relying on federally funded local programs for cancer screenings. Let’s give a little hope to the millions of patients and their families impacted by this disease and not continue to jeopardize progress in the fight against cancer.