AACR Call to Action

The groundbreaking advances against cancer detailed in this report were made possible by the efforts of a broad coalition of researchers, clinicians, cancer survivors, patient advocates, and policy makers. Decades of investment in medical research have fueled new discoveries that made it possible to better prevent, detect, diagnose, treat, and cure many types of cancer that previously lacked effective treatment options. Because of these advances, cancer death rates in the United States steadily declined between 1991 and 2019, translating into nearly 3.5 million cancer deaths avoided. In the last three years alone, the number of cancer survivors living in the United States has increased by more than one million, reaching more than 18 million cancer survivors in 2022. Despite this progress, not everyone has benefited equally from the advances made against cancer, and further efforts are needed to ensure equitable access to quality health care for all populations.

Cancer continues to be the second leading cause of death in the United States, thus there is an urgent need for more research to accelerate the pace of progress against this disease that touches so many lives. Remarkable bipartisan, bicameral efforts in Congress have increased NIH funding by $14.9 billion, or roughly 49 percent, from FY 2015 to FY 2022. These significant investments have made it possible for researchers to discover scientific breakthroughs against cancer and many other diseases.

AACR deeply appreciates the commitment of Congress to expediting progress against cancer and other diseases through robust funding increases for NIH, as well as its support of the critical regulatory science work at FDA and public health initiatives at CDC. These investments and initiatives will transform cancer care, increase survivorship, and maintain the United States’ position as a global leader in science and cancer research.

Therefore, AACR strongly encourages Congress and stakeholders committed to eradicating cancer to:

  • Continue to support robust, sustained, and predictable funding growth for NIH and NCI by providing increases to the FY 2023 base budget, including $49.1 billion in base budget authority for NIH, representing an increase of $4.1 billion, and $7.766 billion for NCI, which is an increase of $853 million and is consistent with the NCI Director’s Professional Judgment Budget.
  • Fully fund initiatives authorized in the 21st Century Cures Act, including the National Cancer Moonshot, and ensure that Moonshot funding supplements rather than supplants NIH funding in FY 2023.
  • Reauthorize the Childhood Cancer STAR Act and provide no less than $30 million for STAR Act implementation, as well as $50 million for the Childhood Cancer Data Initiative, which seeks to better understand cancer biology specific to pediatric patients and improve prevention, treatment, quality of life, and survivorship.
  • Invest in vital initiatives of the CDC Division of Cancer Prevention and Control by providing at least $462.6 million to support comprehensive cancer control, central cancer registries, and screening and public awareness programs for specific cancers.
  • Increase funding for FDA’s critical regulatory science initiatives that advance the development and regulation of oncology products, by providing an increase of at least $318 million, for a total of $3.653 billion in discretionary budget authority in FY 2023, as recommended in President Biden’s budget.
  • Ensure that patients with cancer have equitable access to quality, affordable health care by expanding Medicaid and enacting the Accelerating Kids’ Access to Care Act, which would reduce barriers to care for children on Medicaid who receive specialist care from an out-of-state pediatric provider.
  • Increase participation and diversity of cancer clinical trials by reducing barriers for patient enrollment and encouraging diverse representation in clinical trials, as contained in the
  • Diversifying Investigations Via Equitable Research Studies for Everyone (DIVERSE) Trials Act and the Diverse and Equitable Participation in Clinical Trials (DEPICT) Act, respectively.
  • Encourage research institutions to recruit, support, and retain a robust cancer research workforce that reflects the diversity of our society, and support NCI initiatives such as the NCI Equity and Inclusion Program that strive to build a more inclusive and equitable workforce and markedly reduce cancer disparities.
  • Reduce cancer incidence and mortality by addressing nicotine addiction through expanded coverage of tobacco cessation services, removing flavored tobacco products including menthol from the market, and limiting nicotine concentration in tobacco products.
  • Expand tax policies to encourage philanthropic giving so that nonprofit cancer research organizations can continue to fund high-risk, high-reward research proposals and accelerate the discovery of new treatments and cures.

The items contained in AACR Call to Action would fuel innovation and usher in a new era of cancer science, reduce cancer disparities, improve cancer prevention and detection, and bring lifesaving cures to millions of people whose lives are touched by cancer.

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