Upton: Increase cancer research resources

Published 11:29 am Wednesday, February 7, 2007

By Staff
WASHINGTON – Congressman Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, a senior member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, Tuesday urged the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, Michael Leavitt, to devote greater resources to the nation's cancer research programs.
In the President's fiscal year 2008 budget released Monday, funding for the National Cancer Institute was listed for $4.782 billion, down from $4.793 billion for 2007. Secretary Leavitt was on Capitol Hill this morning testifying before the Energy and Commerce Committee on the health related aspects of the President's budget. Upton is hopeful that funding for cancer research will be increased as the budget process continues.
"We have a responsibility in Congress to ensure that cancer research is a national priority and that we set aside the necessary resources to fight the disease," said Upton. "Unfortunately, we are all too familiar with cancer and the personal toll that it takes. While cancer related deaths in the nation have declined recently, the statistics continue to be alarming – one out of every four deaths is cancer related and nearly 1,500 individuals a day will die from cancer this year alone."
Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the U.S. and is Americans' leading health concern. According to the American Cancer Society, an estimated 1.44 million Americans will be newly diagnosed with cancer and 559,650 people will die from cancer this year. In Michigan, it is predicted that 54,410 people will be diagnosed with cancer in 2007.
Upton also signed the Congressional Cancer Promise in July, which pledges increased funding for cancer research at the National Cancer Institute and for the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program. In addition, the Promise addresses making cancer screenings more accessible for Medicare beneficiaries by supporting current legislation that would extend the Welcome to Medicare visit, which entitles all new Medicare enrollees to a doctor's exam, from six months to a year. The Promise also supports elimination of co-pays for breast and colorectal screenings in Medicare. Nearly three quarters of all cancer deaths occur in the 65 and over population.