WASHINGTONSen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif) has introduced legislation
to update the National Cancer Act and "form a new battle plan to fight
cancer and help us find a cure." Her billthe National Cancer Act of
2002would implement a number of the wide-ranging recommendations made
last year by the National Cancer Legislation Advisory Committee (NCLAC).
Sen. Feinstein announced her bill at a Capitol Hill press conference. At
the time of her announcement, 28 other senators had joined as co-sponsors of
1971 National Cancer Act
The senator initiated the reform effort after concluding that the
original National Cancer Act, signed into law by President Richard M. Nixon
in December 1971, needed to be modernized and re-energized. She serves as
chair of the Senate Cancer Coalition and vice chair of the National Dialogue
on Cancer, a group of 150 organizations involved in the disease.
At her instigation, NCLAC was formed in 1999, with John Seffrin, PhD,
chief executive officer of the American Cancer Society, and Vincent T.
DeVita, Jr., MD, director of the Yale Cancer Center and a former director of
the National Cancer Institute, serving as co-chairs.
In preparing their report, NCLAC members heard from 250 cancer experts
and stakeholders and nine federal agencies, and conducted interviews with
more than 80 cancer survivors and advocates, as well as leaders in science,
academia, and private industry. Their report contained 34 recommendations.
Sen. Feinstein planned to introduce her bill last fall but delayed doing
so after the September 11 terrorist attacks and the refocusing of congressional
attention on national security. In finally submitting the measure, she
expressed the hope it would serve as a rallying cry for the entire cancer
community. "In order for this bill to pass Congress, we need a united
front," she said.