This year in New York alone, it is estimated that 108,000 people will be diagnosed with cancer. For them, the cuts to cancer research that took place as a result of the sequester are very real. Because of these cuts, 1,000 fewer people were able to enroll in potentially lifesaving clinical trials this past year and the National Institutes of Health, the nation's medical research center, has lost more than $1.5 billion, a reality felt by cancer research labs across the country.
There are nearly 14 million cancer survivors alive in the United States today because of past cancer research breakthroughs. However, resting on past progress is a dangerous proposition. These "across the board" cuts to federal research could cost us continued progress as well as any advances we have already made.
While I am holding out hope that Congress will still do what is right for cancer patients and their families and end the sequester, reinvesting in the fight against this devastating disease, it is not enough. We all have a responsibility to raise awareness in our communities by bringing it to the attention of our elected officials.
I urge members of Congress to consider what is at stake for families impacted by cancer that might be counting on the next big breakthrough in treatment or relying on federally funded local programs for cancer screenings. Let's give a little hope for the holidays and not continue to jeopardize progress in the fight against cancer!