Susan G. Komen for the Cure CEO Hala Moddelmog testified before a special hearing of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions on the need for comprehensive legislation to address the nation’s cancer crisis.

Along with Moddeling at the committee meeting was Elizabeth Edwards and Lance Armstrong. Moddeling, in her testimony, emphasized the need for comprehensive action against all cancers. “It is time to unleash the amazing powers of science, technology and medicine on finding radical new breakthroughs in early detection…as we discover new breakthroughs in early detection and treatments, we can claim an amazing victory over cancer.”

Moddelmog focused her testimony on the importance of early detection and the need to invest in research that could lead to early detection methods for all types of cancers, “early detection is the closest thing we have to a cure in many cancers today, so it is time to let nothing stand in the way of finding a cure…”

Moddelmog described for the members of the congressional committee a future where doctors use biomarkers that accurately enable them to detect cancer in a person’s body with a simple blood test. Once diagnosed, they could use personalized treatments so effectively that cancer can be fought with a patient-friendly injection or pill, with limited side-effects.

She also Pointed to disparities in access to care and mortality rates, she cautioned that as science surges, the gap in access would only widen without a comprehensive approach to cancer care. “The truth is, the treatments we have today do not even reach all Americans, so as we unleash the science to find the cures, we also must close the gaps. We must make early detection and personalized treatments available to all.”

All the participants spoke to the need for more action and about challenging Congress to help achieve our vision. Now it is our turn to speak to congress. We must demand that the levels of funding for all cancers research be increased across the board.

Joel T Nowak MA, MSW