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 the bill.
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.