As we celebrate National Cancer Survivors Day®, I invite you to take a look back – and a leap forward.
Fifty years ago, advocates joined legislators to celebrate the signing of the National Cancer Act of 1971, which accelerated research by establishing key programs and increasing funding.
Thanks to bipartisan support and the dedication of researchers, clinicians, people with cancer, and advocates, our understanding of cancer’s complexity extends beyond what we could have imagined 50 years ago. This understanding has been translated into advances that have changed the meaning of many cancer diagnoses.
In the 50th anniversary year of the Act, we’re building on that progress. President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden have spoken about “ending cancer as we know it.”
Ending cancer as we know it probably won’t mean ending all cancer. We should expect that some cancer will always be with us. When I think of ending cancer as we know it, I think of cutting cancer mortality in half from its peak in 1991 and taking on health inequities. We can’t leave huge portions of society behind and expect meaningful progress. The bottom line is that we want fewer cancer diagnoses and more people like you – survivors.
Please share your stories in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the National Cancer Act by following NCI on social media. The theme for the commemoration is “Nothing will stop us.”
The future for cancer prevention, care, and survivorship will be better. Because thanks to you, “Nothing will stop us.”
Ned Sharpless, M.D.
Director, National Cancer Institute