In the coming weeks, Missouri has a unique opportunity to take the lead on finding improved treatments and maybe even cures for cancer.
Our own Sen. Roy Blunt is chairman of the subcommittee in charge of determining how federal funding will be divvied up for the coming year. That includes funding for the National Institutes of Health, which is the single largest recipient of cancer research funding in the country.
Yet the NIH has been underfunded for years. In fact, its budget has declined by more than 20 percent in the last decade.
Unfortunately, cancer incidence and deaths haven’t declined at nearly the same pace.
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We’ve made progress fighting cancer, but if we’re going to continue saving lives and developing new treatments, we need to invest in research today that will bring that next breakthrough tomorrow.
I commend Sen. Blunt for his ongoing support of the NIH and medical research. I encourage him and all our members of Congress to push for more NIH funding and to prioritize the lives of millions Americans touched by this terrible disease.
Mark A. Runyan of Eldon, Mo., is the state lead ambassador and volunteer with the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network. His father, Frank Runyan, 85, and mother, Jeannette Runyan, 74, are cancer survivors. Mark Runyan is the internal audit director with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources in Jefferson City.