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Childhood Cancers Subject of New Law

Childhood Cancers Subject of New Law

At the end of its session, Congress passed a children’s health bill (H.R. 4365) that established a variety of new health programs. One section of the bill authorizes the CDC to study environmental and other risk factors for childhood cancers, including skeletal malignancies, leukemias, malignant tumors of the central nervous system, lymphomas, soft-tissue sarcomas, and other malignant neoplasms. In addition to studying those conditions, the CDC was told to fund projects to improve outcomes among children with those cancers and resulting secondary conditions, such as loss of limbs. The CDC already has a program to help states set up cancer registries. The states themselves decide what the registries will focus on, and some of them are very narrowly gauged. Thirty-nine states have registries. The CDC gave away $24 million in fiscal year 2000 to these state registries. Very few of the states do much with regard to childhood cancers, and the CDC will ostensibly try to change this. The just-passed bill instructs the CDC to set up a national reporting system that will involve oncologists, who will have to provide diagnosis and epidemiolgic data.

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