September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. In honor of that observance, the Association for Clinical Oncology (ASCO) joined with 25 stakeholders for a series of advocacy activities in Washington, D.C., during the week of September 18.
During meetings with lawmakers on September 20, ASCO and the Alliance for Childhood Cancer urged Congress to:
- Increase funding to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Cancer Institute (NCI) for Fiscal Year 2024.
- Fully fund the Childhood Cancer Survivorship, Treatment, Access, and Research (STAR) Act, which expands opportunities for childhood cancer research, improves efforts to identify and track childhood cancer incidences, and enhances the quality of life for survivors.
- Fully fund the Childhood Cancer Data Initiative (CCDI), which aims to improve treatments and outcomes for children, adolescents, and young adults with cancer by facilitating the collection, analysis, and sharing of childhood cancer data.
- Prioritize addressing pediatric drug shortages, noting a recent survey conducted by the Alliance that found 80% of providers said their institution was experiencing a shortage in at least one drug to treat cancer in children.
As a member the Alliance for Childhood Cancer, ASCO participated in a September 21 briefing with the Congressional Childhood Cancer Caucus, which underscored the need for robust cancer research funding as well as increased access to screenings and treatments for patients.
ASCO also took part in a tour of the NCI Pediatric Oncology Branch, meeting with researchers and seeing firsthand how the agency is training the next generation of cancer researchers.
The week culminated with the White House Childhood Cancer Forum. ASCO Past President Michael Link, MD, FASCO, took part in the September 22 event, which convened patients, caregivers, oncologists, researchers, administration officials, and other advocates who shared updates on policy, public and private sector initiatives. Stream a recording of the forum here.
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