Cancer is the leading cause of death by disease among U.S. children. There are about 9,500 new cases of pediatric cancer each year, and the incidence of cancer in children is increasing. The causes of childhood cancer are largely unknown.
Just a few weeks ago, the Director of the National Cancer Institute said that a barrier to fighting cancer is finding the resources to invest adequately in research. Declining funding for pediatric cancer clinical trials has stopped promising clinical trials. At a recent NCI meeting, pediatric cancer researchers were told to expect another 5 percent cut in funding this year.
On Monday, February 25th, the Childhood Cancer Act took center stage in the United States Senate, as Senators Jack Reed (D-RI) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) gave a bi-party colloquy on the Senate floor about the urgent need for Congress and the President to adequately fund childhood cancer research.
The Conquer Childhood Cancer Act is a bipartisan bill with 44 cosponsors – 30 Democrats, 12 Republicans, and 2 Independents. The bill has also been endorsed by the Alliance for Childhood Cancer, a coalition of more than 20 national cancer patient advocacy organizations, professional medical societies, and scientific organizations – including the American Cancer Society and the American Society of Clinical Oncology.
The legislation would authorize $30 million a year through 2012 to:
- Fund critical biomedical research programs aimed at preventing and curing childhood cancer and improving the lives of children with pediatric cancer
- Establish the Children's Cancer Research Network, a population-based national childhood cancer registry, to track pediatric cancer and enroll patients in research studies
- Support a fellowship program in clinical and translational research to foster the career development of pediatric oncologists
- Provide informational and educational services to patients and families affected by childhood cancer to help ensure access to the best available therapies for pediatric cancers.
Chase Meacham, 15 year old cancer survivor, in his address to The United States Congress said:
"I had waited since February for this. I had done it. After nine long, grueling months, I had finally beaten cancer.
As I walked out of the hospital, I could not help but think of all the other children there that night; all the children that would not be leaving with me. I had won my battle, but cancer had by no means lost. Cancer was stronger than ever, the children behind me knowing it more than anyone. Some of the strongest soldiers this country has ever seen aren’t even old enough to drive yet. It should not be this way.
We need to find a cure. We need to find a cure for every child who’s ever screamed in pain or wept in sorrow because of this disease. We need to find a cure for that little girl, who has to watch at the side as her friends jump-rope. We need to find a cure for that boy, who will always just have to sit on the bench as his team plays. We need to find a cure for the parents of these children, who have no choice but to helplessly watch as their son or daughter fights a battle they would gladly fight in their place. We need to find a cure for the siblings of these kids, who don’t understand why their brother or sister is acting so different; why there is tension in their family, or why their parents are crying. We need to find a cure for the friends and the family, who don’t know what to say or how to act; what to do or how to help. We need to find a cure for those lonely children, sitting in bed today – a bed that is not theirs.
We need to find a cure for those children, because they may not be around tomorrow. Cancer is their fight, but it is our responsibility. I am here today to thank you for your help and support. Together, we will find a cure. "
To contact your elected representatives about supporting the bill:
List of those who have the bill:
List of those who have not yet sponsored the bill:
To read the bill: http://www.curesearch.org/uploadedFiles/support_curesearch/Raise_Awareness/Reach_The_Day/S911.pdf