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updated: 8/11/2011 6:52 AM

Cancer should be priority No. 1

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  • Maggie Powell

    Maggie Powell


Although I am mindful of the difficult task ahead for lawmakers in Washington as they decide how to best reduce the deficit. I want to make the case that the fight against cancer be made a national funding priority.

As a cancer survivor and volunteer, I am one of the millions of Americans who understands how this disease impacts every one of us. Thanks to advances in cancer research, there are currently more than 12 million cancer survivors living in this country.

But cancer continues to kill more than 1,500 people in America every day. Here in Illinois, 23,140 are expected to die from the disease this year. Cancer strikes one in every two men and one in every three women -- our parents, our children, our friends and loved ones. Now is not the time to back off funding for cancer research that can save lives.

In fact, now is the time to make investments that will help deliver more cutting-edge breakthroughs from research labs directly to patients. I know that Washington is looking to cut spending. But when it comes to deciding what is important, I hope Congress will agree that a full-scale effort against cancer, a disease that kills more than a half a million Americans every year, should be priority No. 1.

For cancer patients it's a matter of life or death.

Maggie Powell