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You Did It! Colorectal Cancer Funding Spared the Budget Ax

This weekend, Congress completed work on a large spending bill that maintains funding for colorectal cancer research and prevention. In the current budget-cutting environment, holding the line on research and prevention programs is a remarkable accomplishment and reflects the power of grassroots advocacy.

I congratulate the Fight Colorectal Cancer volunteers who took action this year to protect colorectal cancer research and prevention funding. We should be proud of our achievements, but we cannot become complacent. We must prepare for the Fiscal Year 2013 budget battle that lies ahead. Please register to attend Fight Colorectal Cancer’s Call-on Congress next March – where advocates from around the country will be urging their legislators to continue to protect colorectal cancer research funding.

The following are the spending outcomes on Fight Colorectal Cancer’s three appropriations priorities:

  • The Colorectal Cancer Control Program (CRCCP)
  • The National Cancer Institute (NCI) and
  • The Peer Reviewed Cancer Research Program (PRCRP)

Note: The funding levels described below for the CRCCP and NCI do not reflect a 0.189 percent across-the-board cut that will be applied to all discretionary programs under the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services (HHS), Education, with the exception of the Pell Grant Program.

Colorectal Cancer Control Program
Despite threats of deep spending cuts, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) received a slight increase, which allowed funding for the CRCCP to be preserved at its current level of $43.07 million. The CRCCP currently funds colorectal cancer programs in 25 states and four tribal organizations. Funded sites can use up to one-third of funds to provide no-cost screening services to eligible low-income men and women age 50-64. The remaining two-thirds of funds are for colorectal cancer education and outreach strategies. Maintaining CRCCP funding allows education and screening programs currently underway to continue. If funding for CRCCP was increased, education and screening programs could be expanded to more states.

National Institutes of Health

For FY2012, the NIH will receive a $299 million increase in its budget, with the various Institutes and Centers receiving
proportional increases, resulting in $5.082 billion for the NCI. The outcome reflects compromise between the $1 billion increase for the NIH in the House Labor-HHS -Education spending bill and the $190 million cut in the Senate bill. In addition to $30.698 billion for the NIH, the bill also includes $10 million for the Cures Acceleration Network (CAN), which was established under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The purpose of CAN is to accelerate the testing of high-need cures – drugs, biologics and devices – that are not attractive for development within the commercial market.

Peer Reviewed Cancer Research Program
Another important victory for the colorectal cancer community was the inclusion of $12.8 million for the Department of Defense’s (DoD) PRCRP. Comparatively, the PRCRP received $16 million for FY2011. While the program’s budget was decreased, some in Congress have called for the elimination of non-defense spending, including funding for medical research, from the DoD spending bill. The PRCRP funds research on several forms of cancer, including colorectal cancer.

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