Cancer Moonshot funding up for debate

When it comes to the Federal Budget, the saying in Washington is the President proposes and Congress disposes. There is some truth to this. The Administration’s proposed budget is largely symbolic and does not bind Congress because the Legislative Branch controls the Federal purse strings. 

With a divided Congress, it is unlikely that much of what President Biden proposed will appear in the final appropriations bills. We believe, however, one of the initiatives proposed by President Biden deserves strong support from both parties and must be included in the 2024 budget: The Cancer Moonshot

Cancer is not a partisan issue. Almost every person in this country has had cancer impact their life in some way. It is a disease we all fear, and rightfully so, as it will take more than 600,000 lives this year. 

The Cancer Moonshot is a multifaceted initiative that aims to reduce cancer mortality by 50% over the next 25 years. The initiative’s name harkens back to the goal set by President Kennedy in 1961 to put a man on the moon within the decade. It reminds us that America can do great things if we truly commit to the goal. 

Included in the proposed budget for the Cancer Moonshot are elements of particular importance for colorectal cancer:

Close the Screening Gap: The budget specifically addresses the screening gap and funds “the development and deployment of innovative approaches to screening and early detection, including more precise, less invasive, and even at-home methods.” It proposes $394.5 million for the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), including support for the Colorectal Cancer Control Program, to increase the screening rate among people 45 to 75.

Bring Cutting Edge Research Through the Pipeline to Patients: Last year Congress approved the creation of the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H), a new agency with one specific goal: “develop and deploy new ways to prevent, detect, and treat cancer to save and extend lives.” The budget would provide $2.5 billion to ARPA-H, an increase of $1 billion. In addition, the National Cancer Institute at NIH would receive a more modest but still important increase of $500 million over the 2023 appropriation. 

Support Patients and Caregivers: While The Cancer Moonshot seeks future research breakthroughs, it recognizes that we must provide optimal care for cancer patients today. The initiative includes the goal: “To make the experience around cancer – from screening, to getting a diagnosis, to treatment, care, and surviving – easier on those living with cancer and their caregivers.” It includes mandatory cancer care quality data reporting for all Medicare providers to drive improvements in the quality of care. It also would reduce the cost of some drugs used for cancer treatment.

So, when it comes time for Congress to pass appropriation bills for 2024, will they include The Cancer Moonshot? It will be a challenge as Congress seeks to control spending and reduce the deficit. This is why your voice is so important. Why this investment to end cancer must be a priority. 

At the Colorectal Cancer Alliance, we believe we can end colorectal cancer in our lifetime. We envision a future for the next generation of a world without cancer. But that won’t happen if it is not a priority when it comes to budget decisions. The Cancer Moonshot is big and bold, but in America, we can do big and bold things.

If you agree that a cure for cancer should be a priority, please take the time to send an email to your Representative. A suggested sample is below. You can find the email address here

I am writing to ask that Representative _________ support full funding for The Cancer Moonshot in the 2024 budget. This year cancer will kill 600,000 Americans (or include why you are committed to cancer research). I realize there are many priorities to consider in the budget, but I see this as a vital investment in America’s future, a commitment to save lives and hopefully provide our children with a nation free from cancer. 


Top resources