Op-Ed: Working together against cancer can reap results
By Michael McCaul and David Poplack
Since ratification of the National Cancer Act in 1971, there has been a dramatic improvement in survival rates of children with cancer in the U.S. At the time, less than 20 percent of children survived. Now, more than 80 percent of children beat the disease. Although there is considerable work left to do given that childhood cancer remains the single largest killer of children from disease in the U.S., cancer is no longer a death sentence for the majority of American children affected. This is due to the investments and progress that have been made in medical research, clinical care and education. The Children’s Oncology Group, a collaborative clinical study group developed by the National Cancer Institute, now connects thousands of children’s cancer specialists across the U.S. who have developed innovative treatments and better standards of care, which have resulted in vastly improved patient outcomes.
Recognizing the growing issue of childhood cancer, members of Congress took action, first, by founding the Congressional Childhood Cancer Caucus to give a voice to patient advocates in Washington and to pass legislation to improve outcomes for children with cancer. The Caucus has been incredibly successful, enacting legislation such as the Creating Hope Act, the RACE for Children Act, and last year’s Childhood Cancer STAR Act. This issue enjoys bipartisan support, with 75 members of Congress on both sides of the aisle serving on the Caucus.