Updated October 9 at 6:09pm

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health care

Cancer bill championed by Whitehouse on track


WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Recalcitrant Cancer Research Act, which supports the coordination of research on cancers that have persistently low survival rates, was included as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 that was approved by the Senate and is now on its way to President Barack Obama’s desk to be signed into law.

“I hope this legislation will help to secure a brighter future for patients suffering from recalcitrant cancers like lung cancer and pancreatic cancer,” said Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, whose mother died of pancreatic cancer. “I’ve met with too many Rhode Islanders who have lost a loved one to these deadly cancers. On their behalf, I thank all of my colleagues for supporting this common-sense bill, and I look forward to having the President sign it into law.”

The Recalcitrant Cancer Research Act would direct the National Cancer Institute to work with federal and non-federal representatives to develop scientific frameworks for assessing and advancing research on cancers with five-year survival rates below 50 percent.

Advancements in the diagnosis and treatment of so-called recalcitrant cancers, such as cancer of the pancreas, lung, liver, or ovaries, have lagged behind the overall gains made in fighting the disease in recent years.

For lung cancer, the number-one cancer killer in the United States, the five-year relative survival rate is less than 16 percent, despite the survival rates for all cancers improving from 50 to 67 percent over the past 40 years. For pancreatic cancer, the survival rate remains at 6 percent.


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