Today we can all celebrate because the Senate voted overwhelming to pass a supplemental appropriations bill that includes additional funding for cancer research. In a 75-22 vote, senators approved $400 million in additional funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The effort to approve this legislation was spearheaded by Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA). We thank the Senator for his consistent and unwaivering support for cancer research.

I am sure the level of support demonstrated by the senate was influenced by the recent announcement about Senator Kennedy’s (D-MA) diagnosis of brain cancer. Senator Kennedy has been another long time supporter for cancer research and we can hope that this vote signals a renewal of the war on cancer which was started by President Nixon.

We should all contact Sen. Harkin and thank him for leading the effort to add funding for NIH. Our next task is to start to demand that our representatives in the house follow the Senate’s lead and affirm its support for the increase in funding.

If you have not yet added your name to the petition to make prostate cancer a national priority please do so now. Go to and register your support. Send out a request to your entire contact list asking that they too sign on to the petition.

Joel T Nowak MA, MSW