CANCER: March Organizers Want More Research Funds
Organizers of last month's cancer march in Washington, DC, are not resting on their laurels -- they're submitting a detailed plan to Congress today that demands the federal government dramatically increase funding for cancer research. The Washington Post reports that the government currently spends $2.5 billion annually on cancer research, a figure that Ret. Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf pointed out is "the price of one B-2 bomber." He added, "It blows your mind, doesn't it? Now, for the first time, we have a road map that very clearly says this is exactly how much money we need." The organizers are demanding that federal cancer research funds be doubled for FY 1999 and increased "more gradually to reach $10 billion" by FY 2003. The report to Congress includes the following demands, to be implemented by 2003: that annual expenditures on basic research for new cancer-fighting drugs increase from $150 million to $1.2 billion; an increase in funding for cancer testing centers from $140 million to $600 million; and increases "in other parts of the cancer budget, including programs for prevention, early screening and treatment for minorities." The cancer activists are likely to find a receptive audience in Congress -- the Post reports that "lawmakers in both parties back increases for medical research." The current budget will boost National Institutes of Health funding by an estimated 15%, with plans to double the budget over five years (Gillis, 10/15).
On The Wrong Track?
An article in yesterday's Salon argues that "[o]ur nation's anti-cancer strategy -- devoting almost all federal funding to finding a cure -- is fundamentally flawed." Author Erik Marcus, publisher of the vegan.com website, writes that the "government could cut cancer deaths by a third by educating Americans to eat right. But dollars for diet education are scarce, while the cancer research budget fattens up." Click here to read the article in Salon, which can be viewed at www.salon1999.com.