I met with several congressmen and senators on Capitol Hill earlier this month and we discussed the deficit. Everyone we met seemed to be in favor of reducing the deficit; there was bipartisan recognition that past efforts to reduce the deficit had been highly successful, had been good for the economy and had saved thousands of lives.
All were in favor of ongoing major deficit reduction efforts. Everyone agreed reducing the deficit would play a major role in reducing the pain and suffering of our children and grandchildren.
Before you think I’ve lost touch with reality, let me explain: The deficit I’m referring to is the deficit in our understanding of cancer. There is no doubt that cancer research (and other forms of medical research) saves lives. Politicians of all persuasions agree: Cancer research points us toward better approaches to cancer prevention, early detection, and therapy. Cancer research discoveries not only reduce the pain and suffering from cancer, they also result in innovation that is a boon to our economy, leading to new industries, such as biotechnology.
Despite agreement on its value, federal funding for cancer research is being cut because of political disagreements on a broad range of other issues. The only way to change this irrational outcome is for enough people to speak out. Tell our legislators it’s time to reduce the deficit in our knowledge of cancer so we can accelerate the development of new advances that are at the core of our ability to reduce the burden of cancer for generations to come.
George Weiner, MD
Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center Director
Follow me on twitter – @weinerg