In 1971 the United States declared war on cancer. Although there have been some improvements in treatments and screening the actual death rates for many cancers has not significantly been impacted. Considering the amount of money that has been spent and the amount of years that has passed since we declared war, we have not made great strides on the battlefield.

We need to decide to take this war seriously and provide the funding that it requires. Over the past three years the federal funding for research, which has been sorely inadequate considering the scope of the problem, has not even kept up with the rate of inflation.

In August, the Lance Armstrong Foundation invited all of the presidential candidates to address the cancer burden in our country. At the Livestrong Presidential Cancer Forum, six candidates pledged to renew the war on cancer and to make cancer a national priority. Hear and read what they had to say by clicking this sentence.

It is imperative that the issue of cancer remain in the forefront of the political dialogue. Listen to what the candidates say. Let your friends and families know that winning this war is important.

Joel T. Nowak MA, MSW