The NIH and NCI budgets have remained smaller than needed for years, making this the longest sustained period of flat government funding for cancer research in the country’s entire history. With medical inflation hovering around 18% each year, the real value of the dollars earmarked for cancer research has plummeted. The failure to secure adequate funding puts in jeopardy much of the prior research we have already paid for in past years. The lack of funding we have experienced has been a major cause in the reduction of clinical trials as well as in the elimination and slowing down of many on-going research projects and labs.
We should not continue to tolerate these flat budgets because they are actually budget cuts. These cuts mean that more of our children and us will suffer and die unnecessarily. These cuts have meant that many of our researchers are leaving the field, their intelligence and enthusiasm will no longer be available and we will continue to languish in cancer land. We will be missing an entire generation of researchers.
I plan on writing a few additional posts about the AACR and my experience at the meeting. Topics will include: survivors joining across cancers to support each other, the remarkable other survivors I met at the meeting, CR Magazine (a magazine for survivors) and why does the AACR invest so much in survivors.
In the mean time, we have to call on our members of congress and our president to support cancer research and survivorship issues. Our voices need to be raised now and then continue on and on until the AACR puts itself out of business by finding the cure for cancer.
Joel T Nowak MA, MSW