WASHINGTON, DC- Congressman Steny H. Hoyer (D-MD) and Congressman Roger Wicker (R-MS), with support from the Lance Armstrong Foundation, introduced H.R. 5390the Cancer Survivorship Research and Quality of Life Act of 2006, a measure to improve programs for cancer survivors. The Lance Armstrong Foundation was founded by cancer survivor and champion cyclist Lance Armstrong to help cancer patients live strong.
"Successful advancements in detection and treatment have resulted in more and more cancer survivors living longer," Hoyer said. "Our bill would provide the comprehensive services necessary for those survivors who suffer from a unique set of health care needs, including the often complex and long-term effects of their treatment."
"I am grateful to Congressman Hoyer and Congressman Wicker for bringing this bill forward," Armstrong said. "This legislation will further develop and strengthen the infrastructure necessary to support cancer patients and survivors."
Today, 75 percent of American families have faced the uphill struggle of a cancer diagnosis. In 2006, it is estimated that more than 1.4 million Americans will be diagnosed with cancer. Due to investments in research, prevention, and early detection, survivorship rates have improved dramatically over the past 30 years. Today, nearly 70 percent of cancer patients will survive over five years compared to just 50 percent in 1976.
"Unfortunately, this new population of cancer survivors has been largely neglected," Hoyer said. "It is imperative that this growing population of survivors are equipped with the resources, information, and support to face and overcome quality of life challengesincluding barriers to physical activity, employment, and social and emotional health."
In addition to creating the framework for better coordination of survivorship activities, the Cancer Survivorship Research and Quality of Life Act would address these problems directly through two distinct areas: research and quality of life.
National Institutes of Health (NIH)/Cancer Survivorship Research
- Creates the Division of Cancer Survivorship within the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to coordinate and expand cancer survivorship research activities throughout NCI and NIH.
- Establishes new and strengthens existing NCI-designated centers of excellence to expand survivorship research and provide comprehensive, one-stop sources of information, care, and services for cancer survivors, family members, and service providers.
Public Health and Quality of Life
- Formally authorizes and expands the Center for Disease Control's Comprehensive Cancer program to support an integrated and coordinated approach to reducing cancer incidence and mortality through prevention, early detection, treatment, and rehabilitation.
- Supports local, community-based programs which provide direct services to improve cancer survivorship and the quality of life of cancer survivors.
National Commission on Cancer Survivorship
- Creates a National Commission on Cancer Survivorship to coordinate activities on survivorship. Members will include federal agencies, private organizations, and patient representatives.
The opinions expressed in this article represent the views of Congressman Steny Hoyer, or the specific person or organization that is quoted. Congressman Hoyer is the Federal Representative for the Fifth Congressional District of Maryland. Members of the United States House of Representatives serve two-year terms. Mr. Hoyer also serves as the Minority Whip. The Minority Whip is a member of the minority party in the U.S. House of Representatives who assists the Minority Leader in coordinating the party caucus in its responses to legislation and other matters.
Mr. Hoyer's website is located at http://www.hoyer.house.gov/. His office can be reached at (202) 225-4131. More biographical info on Mr. Hoyer can be found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steny_Hoyer.