Proposed Budget Cuts Could Stunt Progress in the Fight to Cure Cancer

In 2020, the economic impact of cancer will be roughly $460 billion in direct medical costs and lost wages
Audio: 
Dr. Brian Kavanagh, MD, President of American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) and Dr. David Beyer, MD, Chair of American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO)

(Washington, D.C., Thursday, April 27, 2017) – More than 100 radiation oncologists from across the country will meet with their senators and representatives in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday, May 2, 2017 to advocate for increased cancer research funding and other policies that protect cancer patients. Unpredictable funding leads to interruptions in the progress to find cures and causes leading scientists to leave the research field. In 2020, the economic impact of cancer will be roughly $460 billion in direct medical costs and lost wages. The President’s budget proposes cutting $6 billion from the $32 billion National Institutes of Health (NIH) budget, which could lead to a 20 percent cut in the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) budget. These physicians who specialize in radiation therapy are on Capitol Hill asking for a $2 billion increase in the total NIH budget, with a proportional increase in the NCI budget.

Dr. Brian Kavanagh, MD, President of American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO), and Chair of Radiation Oncology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, discusses the importance of preserving funding for cancer research.

KAVANAGH:

CANCER DEATHS ARE DOWN TWENTY-THREE PERCENT IN THE PAST TWO DECADES, BUT THERE ARE STILL FIFTEEN MILLION PEOPLE LIVING WITH CANCER IN THE U.S. TODAY. IF CONGRESS CUTS FINANCIAL SUPPORT FOR CANCER RESEARCH, WE RISK INTERRUPTING THE WORK THAT HAS IMPROVED OUTCOMES FOR SO MANY PATIENTS. THERE ARE MORE THAN TWO HUNDRED TYPES OF CANCER, AND ONLY THROUGH RESEARCH CAN WE LEARN WHICH TREATMENTS, INCLUDING RADIATION THERAPY, WILL BE MOST EFFECTIVE TO FIGHT THE MANY DIFFERENT FORMS OF THIS ILLNESS. WE ASK THAT CONGRESS REJECT PROPOSED CUTS TO FEDERAL CANCER RESEARCH FUNDING AND INSTEAD SUPPORT AN INCREASE IN THE BUDGET TO ERADICATE CANCER.

Dr. David Beyer, MD, Chair of American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO), and Medical Director of Cancer Centers of Northern Arizona at Sedona, discusses what Congress needs to do to protect cancer patients from losing their health coverage.

BEYER:

PROTECTING ACCESS TO HEALTH INSURANCE SAVES LIVES. NOT HAVING ADEQUATE COVERAGE CAN LEAD TO DELAYED TREATMENT AND HIGHER COSTS FOR EVERYONE. CUTTING INSURANCE FOR CANCER PATIENTS WILL LIMIT THEIR ACCESS TO THE TREATMENTS THEY NEED AND DESERVE. WE ARE URGING CONGRESS TO SUPPORT REFORMS THAT AVOID DISRUPTIONS IN CARE. PATIENTS FIGHTING FOR THEIR LIVES SHOULD NOT HAVE TO FIGHT FOR THEIR INSURANCE.

For more information, visit www.astro.org

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