Cancer survivors and patients urge Congress for more research funding and early detection support

WASHINGTON — Nearly 700 cancer patients, survivors and volunteers from every state are urging Congress to make cancer research and prevention a priority.

They met directly with federal lawmakers Tuesday during a series of meetings on Capitol Hill.

One of those survivors is Flecia Brown from Georgia. She was diagnosed with a rare type of breast cancer known as “triple-negative” in 2005.

“My doctors were just trying to save my life,” she said.

Brown said she went through chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation to survive.

“I never had a doubt that I wasn’t going to make it. I never had a doubt,” she said.

Tuesday, Brown shared her story with lawmakers from her state while making the push for increased funding for research and prevention.

“In the last 17 years that I’ve been cancer free, I’ve lost many, many friends and family members to different types of cancer,” said Brown.

This comes as the American Cancer Society estimates nearly two million new cancer cases may be diagnosed this year alone.

During these meeting, volunteers also advocated for new bipartisan proposals like the Multi-cancer Early Detection Act. It aims to improve access to new cancer screenings for Medicare beneficiaries.

“We’ve had innovations through research on new ways to potentially detect cancers early and find cancers that are right now that may be unscreenable,” said Dr. Karen Knudsen, CEO of the American Cancer Society and its advocacy affiliate, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN)

Another bill known as the Prostate-Specific Antigen Screening for High-risk Insured Men Act would waive out-of-pocket costs for individuals with the highest risk of prostate cancer.  This includes black men and those with a family history of this disease.

“If its caught early we can determine who needs to be treated and cure them,” said Dr. Knudsen.

For cancer survivors like Brown, she believes this funding is more than just dollars in a budget.

“Look at it as lives saved. Look at it as birthdays being had. Look at it as these people get to see their kids graduate from high school or college, they get to see their grandbabies be born,” she said.

Dr. Knudsen said the ACS CAN is pushing for additional money for cancer research and early detection as part of this latest budget package.

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