ASCO Launches This Year’s Advocacy on Federally Funded Cancer Research

The society is urging Congress to build on national investment by providing $41.6 Billion to the NIH
April 1, 2019

Today, ASCO is kicking off its Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 advocacy campaign in support of increased funding for federal cancer research. The launch of this year’s advocacy effort comes as Congress is beginning its work to craft FY 2020 appropriations bills. As part of the campaign, ASCO is urging Congress to provide $41.6 billion to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) – a $2.5 billion increase from FY 2019 – and $6.5 billion to the National Cancer Institute (NCI).

Tell Congress to increase funding for NIH and NCI.

Thanks, in large part, to activities funded by the NIH and NCI, millions more Americans are surviving cancer. Since 1991, there has been a 27% decline in cancer death rates, and today, there are 15.5 million cancer survivors alive in the United States. Research funded by NIH and NCI has led to important prevention and treatment advances that are transforming cancer care and giving hope to the millions of Americans who face a cancer diagnosis each year.

Congress has shown bipartisan support for our nations’ investment in cancer research by passing four annual consecutive funding increases for NIH and NCI. However, despite this progress, more work is needed. Considering biomedical inflation, the NIH’s purchasing power has only now just reached pre-recession levels and NCI still has a $1.1 billion shortfall.

“Over the past several years, Congress has taken steps to rebuild our nation’s biomedical infrastructure by providing budget increases to the NIH and NCI,” said Richard L. Schilsky, MD, FACP, FSCT, FASCO, ASCO’s Chief Medical Officer. “But to build on the promise of today’s research, we need stable, predictable funding increases to continue so that people with cancer live longer and better.”

As part of ASCO’s advocacy efforts in support of federally funded cancer research, the society will meet with individual Members of Congress, submit testimony to the House and Senate Appropriations Committees, schedule fly-ins with ASCO members, and work hand-in-hand with other advocates to encourage action on this important issue. Just recently, ASCO joined other patient groups, scientific societies, and research and health care institutions in sending a letter to influential leaders of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees urging them to increase federal funding for cancer research and prevention in the FY 2020 funding bill.

ASCO is also reactivating I Live to Conquer Cancer™, a national awareness and outreach initiative, which supports the society’s advocacy efforts and underscores the critical importance of federally funded cancer research. Through a series of videos, written stories, advertising, and social media, I Live to Conquer Cancer shines a spotlight on federally funded cancer researchers who are passionate about finding new ways to diagnose, prevent, and treat cancer to improve outcomes.

ASCO members can support the society’s federal research funding advocacy efforts by:

Bookmark ASCO in Action for updates on the congressional appropriations process and other cancer policy news.

Alan P. Lyss, MD, an oncologist at the Missouri Baptist Medical Center, talks about why he lives to conquer cancer.