WASHINGTONMajor congressional and White House action is needed to revitalize the National Cancer Plan and enable "our nation to capitalize on unprecedented scientific opportunities and surmount barriers" in the battle against cancer, an independent panel has concluded.
In its report, "Conquering Cancer: A National Battle Plan to Eradicate Cancer in Our Lifetime," the National Cancer Legislation Advisory Committee (NCLAC) made 34 recommendations aimed at basic and translational research, the delivery of cancer care, and access to cancer care.
"Congress and the President can act immediately on some of the ideas, while others may be long term," the panel said. "Taken together, however, these recommendations provide a road map to eradicating cancer as a major health problem in our lifetimea goal that is finally within reach."
NCLAC was formed in 1999 at the request of Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif). "I now believe that in my lifetime we can find a cure for cancer," she said, and promised to introduce legislation later this year that would "form our nation’s battle plan to win this war."
Former National Cancer Institute director Vincent T. DeVita, Jr., MD, director of the Yale Comprehensive Cancer Center, and John R. Seffrin, PhD, chief executive officer of the American Cancer Society, co-chaired NCLAC.
What became known as the "War on Cancer" began with the enactment of the National Cancer Act, which then-President Richard M. Nixon signed into law in December 1971. Researchers and clinicians have made remarkable progress in the 30 years since, the report noted.
"For the first time in our nation’s history, the number of new cancer cases and deaths for every 100,000 people has declined over the past decade. For many, a cancer diagnosis is no longer a death sentence," the panel said.