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World Cancer Day: A Renewed Commitment to Cancer Prevention and Cure

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Dr. Jessica Nelson
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World Cancer Day: A Renewed Commitment to Cancer Prevention and Cure

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Every year, World Cancer Day serves as a potent reminder of the global fight against this devastating disease. This year, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director publicly expressed a commitment to improving equitable access to cancer prevention steps and advancing cures through NIH research. The focus was not only on the tangible aspects of combating cancer but also on addressing the fear associated with a diagnosis. The emphasis was placed on the crucial role of research and prevention in the battle against cancer.

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Stepping Up the Fight Against Cancer

The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) marked the two-year anniversary of the Moonshot re-ignition by calling on the White House and Congress to reinforce their commitment to end cancer. The organization urged the administration to take decisive steps to prioritize cancer prevention and research. A significant part of this call to action was the proposal to finalize rules to end the sale of menthol cigarettes and all flavors in cigars, a move that could significantly reduce cancer diagnoses and deaths. Furthermore, ACS CAN called for sustained and increased funding for cancer discovery and prevention at the NIH and the National Cancer Institute.

Partnerships for Progress

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The fight against cancer has seen collaborations across various sectors, with pharmaceutical giant Pfizer partnering with the American Cancer Society. The 'Change the Odds: Uniting to Improve Cancer Outcomes' initiative was launched with a commitment of $15 million in funding. This initiative seeks to bridge the gap in cancer care disparities, specifically in medically underrepresented communities across the United States. The focus areas are breast and prostate cancer, with the goal of raising awareness, providing access to screenings and programs, and delivering cancer prevention resources and patient support in these communities. The initiative is an ambitious attempt to remove obstacles to care that arise due to circumstances and geography.

Education and Training in Cancer Research

The Cancer Research Education Grants Program R25 is another exciting development, providing support for educational activities that complement and enhance the training of a workforce to meet the nation's biomedical, behavioral, and clinical research needs. The program offers curriculum or methods development, courses for skills development, and research experiences. The program aims to provide innovative state-of-the-art evidence-based cancer research education, including hands-on exposure to cancer research and related training. Applicants can receive up to 2 years of support for courses for skills development and up to 5 years for research experiences, with a maximum of $300,000 direct costs per year available.

A Future Without Cancer

World Cancer Day also saw a recommitment to driving progress toward President Biden’s Cancer Moonshot and delivering health equity to those with cancer. The focus is on providing access to resources for cancer prevention, early detection, and proper treatment. The NIH was highlighted as a key player in research, programs, and partnerships to create a future without cancer. The collaborative efforts of organizations, government bodies, and private entities are a testament to the shared goal of a world free from the fear, pain, and inequity that cancer brings.

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