Support of the National Defense Authorization Actby Representative Anna G. Eshoo
Posted on 2013-01-02
in the house of representatives
Wednesday, January 2, 2013
Ms. ESHOO. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of the National Defense
Authorization Act which contains a very special provision, the
Recalcitrant Cancer Research Act.
I first introduced this bill in the 110th Congress in honor of my dear friend, Ambassador Richard Sklar, who was a victim of pancreatic cancer, a devastating disease. Pancreatic cancer is essentially a death sentence, with very few surviving. It is only because of the families, friends, neighbors, doctors, and co-workers who have advocated for better research and treatments, that we've made it to the ``finish line'' legislatively after a five-year effort.
Sadly, the outcomes for those with pancreatic cancer have remained relatively unchanged since the passage of the National Cancer Act more than 40 years ago. Only 6 percent of people diagnosed with the disease live longer than 5 years, and 75 percent die within a year of diagnosis. Pancreatic cancer remains one of the most lethal types of cancers, even as survival rates for other cancers have increased.
The Recalcitrant Cancer Research Act, which I introduced with my colleague, Representative Leonard Lance, directs the National Cancer Institute to develop a long-term strategic plan for addressing recalcitrant cancers beginning with pancreatic and lung cancers. The plan will bring together the finest minds in our country with the best expertise in this area. The plans will be used by the Agency as a roadmap for navigating the best way forward in research for early detection, new diagnostic tools, treatment therapies, and even cures.
While pancreatic cancer is one of the most devastating of all ``recalcitrant cancers,'' or those with a high mortality rate and few treatments, it is certainly not the only one that needs increased attention. I have worked closely with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to expand our legislation to include all recalcitrant cancers so that we can make progress in other areas, too.
I am exceedingly proud that this legislation enjoyed the bipartisan cosponsorship of 294 Members of the House and more than half the U.S. Senate with 58 bipartisan cosponsors. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse championed the legislation with his steadfast leadership, and without him, this effort would not have ultimately been successful.
I thank Chairman Upton and Ranking Member Waxman of the Energy and Commerce Committee for their work in moving the bill forward. I'm very proud of the efforts of the pancreatic cancer advocates who had the courage to share their stories with their representatives, educating them about the importance of this legislation.
I look forward to seeing the Recalcitrant Cancer Research Act signed into law as part of the National Defense Authorization Act so we can finally bring a renewed effort to finding cures for all recalcitrant cancers.