Friday, April 18, 2008

Too few funds to fight cancer in U.S.

Go to San Diego Union-Tribune original
With more than 500,000 cancer deaths in the United States each year, the underlying buzz all around the just concluded San Diego meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research, with 17,000 scientists from throughout the nation and the world, was, “Where is the federal government?

AACR is comprised of 27,000 scientists dedicated to the conquest of cancer, and they are saving lives every day. The physicians and researchers are making discoveries shattering the old death sentence of cancer – the death rate has declined 2 percent a year since 2002. Still, 1,500 Americans a day die from cancer, points out cancer survivor Cindy Geoghegan of Komen for the Cure, the world's largest private breast cancer research funding provider.

Despite fear of the torturous physical slide of cancer – people's No. 1 health fear – federal funds for research into early diagnosis, treatment and cures are plummeting. The National Institutes of Health has lost 2 percent of its budget to inflation in real dollars every year for the last seven years, a 14 percent decline, points out leukemia researcher Michael Sheard of Childrens Hospital Los Angeles. Ellen Sigal, chairwoman of Friends of Cancer Research in Arlington, Va., and the chair of a forum at AACR on alternative funding mechanisms, confirmed Sheard's numbers.


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