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Public Statements

Pancreatic Cancer

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. LEWIS. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to share my concerns about the future of an essential cancer research program which suffered dreadful cuts from sequestration.

As you know, our country made great strides in overall cancer research efforts, but we must do more. There is a long way yet to go in the pancreatic cancer battle in particular. There is still no way to detect the disease early, or to treat it effectively after diagnosis. Pancreatic cancer is the only major cancer where less than ten percent of those affected live for five years, and this is heartbreaking.

Last year, Congress passed the Recalcitrant Cancer Research Act, a bipartisan bill which I was proud to support. In doing so, we tasked the National Cancer Institute with the responsibility of developing a strategy for fighting pancreatic and other deadly cancers. The Recalcitrant Cancer Research Act will support new research programs and will help find diagnostic tools and more effective treatments for pancreatic cancer and similar diseases.

Unfortunately, Mr. Speaker, none of that progress will be realized without protecting the resources which allow the National Institutes of Health and the National Cancer Institute to accomplish this law's life-saving goals. With sequestration in effect, the NIH has already lost $1.55 billion in funding necessary for grant programs and other projects.

Mr. Speaker, I urge my colleagues to protect these resources. We must come together to fight one of our greatest health challenges, and finding a positive, sustainable solution to sequestration. Too many people, too many families are praying and expecting a solution. Sequestration must come to an end. We must come together, and we must end this terrible reality now.

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