I am a 20-year cancer survivor who owes her life to the tremendous cancer research done prior to my diagnosis, and I know most cancer survivors feel the same way. Without research, the successful chemotherapy and radiation protocols used today would still be on the drawing board. Right now we are in danger of losing the progress we’ve made and derailing future treatment advancements unless Congress increases federal cancer research funding.

What better gift can Congress deliver this holiday season than a renewed commitment to fighting a disease that kills more than 8,000 Oregonians yearly?

Over the past decade, flat funding and inflation have jeopardized progress against cancer. Federal funding for medical research has dropped more than 24 percent in inflation-adjusted dollars since 2003, forcing cancer centers to halt promising clinical trials and drying up the grant pool for researchers.

Budget proposals being voted on in Congress over the next few weeks include the largest single increase for cancer research in a decade. Cancer strikes one in two men and one in three women, including roughly 22,400 Oregonians each year. As the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network lead advocate in Oregon, I urge Oregon’s members of Congress to vote to increase research funding in the 2016 budget. Let’s ensure more Oregonians with cancer can join me and say, “I’m cancer free.”

Lois Fitzpatrick

Seaside

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