American College Of Surgeons - Inspiring Quality: Highest Standards, Better Outcomes

Cancer and Research

2015 Commission on Cancer Overview 

Congress Passes Breast Cancer Research Stamp Reauthorization Act of 2015

On December 1, 2015 the U.S. House of Representatives passed S. 1170, Breast Cancer Research Stamp Reauthorization Act. S.1170 reauthorized provisions requiring the U.S. Postal Service to issue a special postage stamp to raise funds for breast cancer research through December 31, 2019.

House Resolution Recognizes the Importance of CoC Accreditation 

Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-KS) and Rep. Richard Neal (D-MA) have introduced H. Res. 487, which recognizes the importance of voluntary accreditation by the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer (CoC) in ensuring access to high-quality cancer care. Currently, there are approximately 1,500 CoC-accredited cancer programs in the U.S., treating more than 70 percent of newly diagnosed cancer patients each year. According to a study in the Journal of Surgical Oncology, accreditation is regarded as important in improving oncologic outcomes through compliance with standards that include continuous quality improvement.

2014 Commission on Cancer Overview

The Commission on Cancer (CoC) continues to develop its legislative agenda. It has approved support for the bills below.

Patient Centered Quality Care for Life Act

Reps. Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO) and Spencer Bachus (R-AL) introduced the Patient Centered Quality Care for Life Act, which would elevate the importance of patient-centered palliative care by requesting research funding, bringing it to national attention, and promoting training in palliative care.

  • Research: Expands research necessary to establish a strong science base for palliative care and to expand palliative care’s ability to improve both quality and length of life, while reducing unnecessary health care costs.
  • Training: Establishes a workforce training initiative to ensure sufficient numbers of health professionals at all levels to directly provide high-quality palliative care for the highest risk and most complex patients,
  • Focused national attention: Convenes health professionals, patients, public and private payers, and state and federal health officials to develop solutions, tools, and best practice models for providing better patient-centered care to individuals with chronic disease.

Palliative Care Education and Hospice Training Act

Introduced by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) in the Senate and Reps. Eliot Engel (D-NY) and Tom Reed (R-NY) in the House, the Palliative Care Education and Hospice Training Act (S. 641 and H.R. 1339) focuses on training the current and emerging health care professional workforce in palliative care. Specifically, the bill:

  • Creates incentives to improve the training and retraining of interdisciplinary health professionals in palliative care and to develop and disseminate curricula relating to palliative care.
  • Creates up to 24 palliative care education centers at medical schools to establish fellowships that provide short-term intensive courses focused on palliative care. Fellowships are targeted to faculty to upgrade their knowledge and clinical skills for the care of individuals with serious and chronic illnesses.
  • Provides grants or contracts for health care professionals to teach or practice in the field of palliative care for at least five years.

Removing Barriers to Colorectal Cancer Screening Act

Introduced by Reps. Charlie Dent (R-PA), Joe Courtney (D-CT), Michael Fitzpatrick (R-PA), and Donald Payne (D-NJ), the Removing Barriers to Colorectal Cancer Screening Act (H.R. 1070) would correct an oversight in current law that requires Medicare beneficiaries to pay a coinsurance when a colorectal cancer screening colonoscopy also involves a polyp removal during the screening encounter.

Cancer FY 2015 Appropriations Requests

The American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer (ACS CoC) is a member of One Voice Against Cancer (OVAC), a broad coalition of cancer-related organizations working to make funding for cancer research and prevention programs a top priority in fiscal year (FY) 2015 and beyond. For FY 2015, the ACS CoC urges Congress to support the following funding recommendations:

  • National Institutes of Health (NIH): $32 billion, including:
    • National Cancer Institute (NCI): $5.26 billion
    • National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NCMHD): $287 million
    • National Institute on Nursing Research (NINR): $150 million
    • National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS): $677 million
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Cancer Programs: $510 million, including:
    • National Comprehensive Cancer Control Program: $50 million
    • National Program of Cancer Registries: $65 million
    • National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program: $275 million
    • Colorectal Cancer Control Program: $70 million
    • National Skin Cancer Prevention Education Program: $5 million
    • Prostate Cancer Awareness Campaign: $35 million
    • Ovarian Cancer Control Initiative: $5 million
    • Gynecologic Cancer and Education and Awareness (Johanna's Law): $5 million

The America HEALS Act

Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA) introduced the America HEALS (Helping Encourage Advancements in Lifesaving Science) Act (H.R. 4384), which seeks to expand support for future research at the NIH, the CDC, the Department of Defense Health Program (DHP), and the Veterans Medical & Prosthetics Research Program. In addition, Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL) introduced similar legislation—the American Cures Act (S.2115). The College supports these bills, which seek to create a trust fund to support a mandatory funding stream for this type of research.

It is unlikely that these bills will move this year though there remains a possibility that Congress does move distinct appropriations bills. However, it is likely this issue is dealt with in 2015.

Additional ACS Efforts

ACS Supports Cancer Research Funding in FY 2011

On March 31, 2011, the College and 40 other members of the One Voice Against Cancer (OVAC) coalition sent a letter to House and Senate leadership urging them to support funding to help prevent cancers which can be detected early and to support research for cancers which cannot.

ACS Supports Cancer Prevention and Control Funding for the CDC

On June 2, 2011, the College and 33 members of the One Voice Against Cancer (OVAC) coalition sent a letter to the House Appropriations Committee requesting that they maintain essential appropriations support for cancer prevention and control programs at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in FY 2012.

ACS Supports Inclusion of Cancer Research Funding in 2012 Defense Appropriations Act

On June 8, 2011, the College joined 112 organizations in sending a letter to Rep. Bill Young (R-FL), Chair of the Defense subcommittee of the Appropriations Committee, and Rep. Norm Dicks (D-WA), Ranking member of the Defense subcommittee, thanking them for including $223 million for cancer research in the Defense Appropriations Act for FY 2012. The letter also stated the organizations’ hope that this funding will remain in the bill after the full committee markup.