MARCH ON D.C.: Thousands To Rally For Cancer Research
Thousands of cancer activists, patients, family members and friends are expected to gather on the Mall in Washington, DC, tonight and tomorrow to voice support for increased cancer research spending and better care for patients. In organizing the rally, the Washington Post reports that activists are "[t]rying to do for cancer research what Earth Day did for the environment and a decade of street activism did for the fight against AIDS." One of the march's financial backers, financier Michael Milken, "described the AIDS community yesterday as a 'symbol of what we could do.'" Richard Atkins, chair of the cancer march, said, "This is building a national movement to cure cancer. We're at the threshold of so many terrific discoveries for cures and controls of different cancers. The importance right now is making the investment that can make a difference." At a Capitol Hill press conference yesterday, Sens. Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Connie Mack (R-FL) "renewed a call ... for a doubling of federal support for the National Institutes of Health." Harkin said, "In the next 10 years, we're going to knock out cancer once and for all. We have the ability to do this. We just have to marshal the resources." The Post notes the grim facts of cancer: "One in two American men and one in three women will develop cancer during their lifetimes. An estimated 564,000 people in this country will die of cancer in 1998 and 1.23 million will learn they have the disease. They also will learn that there is no known cure" (Slevin/Gillis, 9/25).
The cancer rally kicks off this evening at 7:30 p.m. with a candlelight vigil at the Lincoln Memorial. Activities on the Mall are scheduled for all day tomorrow, with the focus being a three-hour series of speeches starting at noon. Scheduled speakers include: Vice President Al Gore, Rev. Jesse Jackson, ABC News' Sam Donaldson, Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf and Cindy Crawford (Washington Post, 9/25). For more information, check out the march's official website: www.themarch.org.
Tune In Tonight!
PBS will air a special documentary tonight that profiles several cancer patients. Living With Cancer: A Message of Hope was "filmed primarily at the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center" and "explores the most recent advances in cancer research." The documentary is scheduled to air at 9:00 p.m. on most stations, but be sure to check local listings ( USA Today, 9/24).
Notes On The March
- Cancer Quilts: The Columbia State profiles two women who formed a nonprofit group to "display quilts honoring cancer-stricken children." The quilts will be unveiled at a ceremony Saturday (Davis, 9/24).
- Wisconsin's first lady received the "Action for Cancer Awareness" award yesterday to recognize "her work on behalf of women's health and breast cancer awareness." First Lady Sue Ann Thompson was presented with the award by the Congressional Families for Cancer Awareness (Aukofer, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 9/25).
- The National Prostate Cancer Coalition expects to deliver more than 500,000 petitions to Congress today urging increased prostate cancer research funding (release, 9/22).
- The Senate Cancer Coalition -- co-chaired by Sens. Connie Mack (R-FL) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) -- is scheduled to hear testimony this morning from leading participants in the march (release, 9/23).
- Yesterday's Chicago Tribune reported that "researchers are having trouble finding enough volunteers for trials, slowing medical advances and limiting patients' options." National Cancer Institute's Mary McCabe said the "number of patients participating in cooperative group treatment trials ... dropped to 16,000 in 1995 from 21,000 in 1988." To get more cancer patients involved in clinical trials, the NCI's FY 1999 budget request outlines plans for "achiev[ing] a five-fold increase over the next five years in enrollment in cooperative treatment trials." According to the Tribune, if that goal is "met, more than 1 million patients each year would participate in such clinical trials" (Christian, 9/24).
- The Washington Post "Health" section looks at a Maryland law requiring insurers and HMOs "to cover the cost of care for patients with cancer and other life-threatening diseases who participate in clinical trials that have been approved by federal agencies" (Naughton, 9/22 issue).
- A study published this week in the British Medical Journal shows that wine drinkers "seem to run a lower risk of developing certain types of cancer than people who drink beer and hard liquor." The researchers "concluded that wine may contain protective compounds that cancel out the well-known cancer-causing effects of alcohol" (Hall, San Francisco Chronicle, 9/25).
To mark the beginning of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a live breast biopsy will be transmitted to Capitol Hill October 1. A coalition of breast cancer groups, including the National Alliance of Breast Cancer Organizations, also plans to release the results of a new Roper Starch national survey of women who recently had a biopsy to learn if they had breast cancer. This is the very first time a national sampling has been conducted to uncover the impact the diagnostic experience can have on a woman (release, 9/23).