Congressman Dave Reichert (WA-08) was joined today by Reps. Anna G. Eshoo (CA-18), Leonard Lance (NJ-07) and Henry Waxman (CA-33) in announcing the creation of the Congressional Caucus on the Deadliest Cancers. The Caucus will raise awareness about the deadliest forms of cancers and advocate for research and other measures to increase survival. Lung, pancreatic and liver cancers are all considered "deadly cancers" with five-year survival rates below 50%. The Caucus will give patients and survivors a support network of lawmakers and health care professionals dedicated to working collaboratively on federal initiatives.
The bipartisan lawmakers joined the Deadliest Cancer Coalition earlier this afternoon, where a panel discussed efforts to minimize cancer's toll by improving prevention, early detection, and treatment options for these cancers.
Reichert said, "Launching the Congressional Caucus on Deadliest Cancers is extremely important to raise awareness about cancers with the lowest survival rate. After watching my own mother lose her battle with Pancreatic Cancer, I understand all too well how critical it is that we support research for new medicines and treatments for these diseases, and perhaps, one day, we will discover the cure."
Lance, a member of the Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee, said "The Congressional Caucus on the Deadliest Cancers will give advocates and those working for cures a forum to discuss one of the great public health challenges of our time, the rise of deadly cancers. Cancer is a diagnosis no person wants to hear and a battle no one should face alone. From those in treatment to those working towards prevention, to friends and family dealing with the terrible illness of a loved one, everyone knows someone who has been afflicted with cancer. Cancer has been the great health menace of the last century and this Caucus will be another avenue to build bridges into the patient, support and research communities."
"For the 400,000 Americans diagnosed with a deadly cancer every year, Congress is coming to their aid," said Eshoo, a senior member of the Energy and Commerce Committee which oversees a number of federal health agencies. "With the launch of the bipartisan Congressional Caucus on Deadliest Cancers, patients, survivors, advocates, Members of Congress and their staff will have a dedicated forum to aid in the advancement of policy that combats the lingering prevalence of deadly cancers. Nearly half of all cancer deaths in the U.S. are attributable to one of the deadliest cancers, and it's imperative that we take every step we can to reverse this tragic statistic."
"The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network has long advocated for increased federal support in an effort to improve patient outcomes. With the leading causes of cancer deaths expected to change dramatically in the United States by 2030, the time is now to ensure we are focused on those cancers that will soon take a greater toll on the nation's health, including pancreatic, lung and liver. We applaud Representatives Lance, Eshoo, Reichert and Waxman for their leadership in starting the Congressional Caucus on Deadliest Cancers, and look forward to partnering with them as we work to improve the survival rates for the nation's deadliest cancer," said Julie Fleshman, president and CEO of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. A recent Pancreatic Cancer Action Network report predicts that the Nation's leading causes of cancer-related death will change dramatically by 2030. While lung cancer will remain at the top of the list for years to come, pancreatic and liver cancer will replace breast and colorectal cancer as the second and third leading cancer killers.