The U.S. House of Representatives recently held a Special Order in honor of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) as it celebrates its 50th anniversary. During the event on the House floor, Members of Congress highlighted critical advancements in cancer care over the past 50 years and the impact of ASCO’s work on driving progress and innovation.
“We are deeply honored to be recognized by the House of Representatives in this fashion,” said ASCO President Clifford A. Hudis, MD, FACP. “ASCO was established 50 years ago with a commitment to make high-quality, evidenced-based care available to all patients with cancer. The great strides that have occurred since our founding are the direct result of our nation’s longstanding investment in cancer clinical research. Today, ASCO looks forward to even faster progress and innovation in cancer care, and we thank our lawmakers for ensuring that the fight against cancer remains a national priority.”
Advocates and Champions
During the House Special Order session, U.S. Representatives Leonard Lance (R-NJ), Brian Higgins (D-NY), Chuck Fleischmann (R-TN), and Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) highlighted how ASCO has driven cancer care progress and worked to address key challenges in oncology over the past 5 decades. “When ASCO was founded, cancer was widely regarded as an untreatable disease with fewer than one-half of patients alive 5 years after diagnosis,” said Rep. Lance. “Because of the work of passionate advocates and tireless champions, and of the expertise of talented medical professionals, including those at ASCO, today the survival rate is higher than two-thirds.”
Rep. Jackson Lee spoke to ASCO’s leadership role in improving quality in cancer care and research. “They had their first real meeting with 51 physicians in November 1964, and I’m glad that they organized because as we watch the progression of research and care in the treatment of cancer, we owe a great deal to them.
Role of Funding
Other Members participating in the Special Order stressed the crucial role that federal funding has played in driving cancer research and the development of new treatments for oncology patients. Rep. Higgins said that “to sustain cancer research is to produce promising new therapies, but to also encourage young researchers to stay in the field, and that’s our obligation as Democrats and Republicans of this [governing] body in recognizing that we must fully fund the National Institutes of Health and the National Cancer Institute.”
Rep. Fleishmann called on Congress to show bipartisan support for funding that would continue to spur progress in cancer care and drive future advancements. ■