Childhood Cancers Subject of New Law

December 1, 2000

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,

At the end of its session, Congress passed a children’shealth bill (H.R. 4365) that established a variety of new health programs. Onesection of the bill authorizes the CDC to study environmental and other riskfactors 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 CDCwas told to fund projects to improve outcomes among children with those cancersand resulting secondary conditions, such as loss of limbs. The CDC already has aprogram to help states set up cancer registries. The states themselves decidewhat 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 year2000 to these state registries. Very few of the states do much with regard tochildhood cancers, and the CDC will ostensibly try to change this. Thejust-passed bill instructs the CDC to set up a national reporting system thatwill involve oncologists, who will have to provide diagnosis and epidemiolgicdata.