President axes plan to cure prostate cancer |

President axes plan to cure prostate cancer

A plan with no budget is a sham – more Enron-like accounting.

There will be no budget plan to fight a disease that kills 30,000 every year and for which African Americans and some veterans are at special risk.

Currently, the Prostate Cancer Five-Year-Plan slated to expire in FY 2003 – defines research goals and maps out the dollars required to discover a cure and achieve new and innovative treatments. However, the president has opted not to extend the budget plan through FY 2008, surrendering the lives of thousands of Americans and years of productive research.

We can’t afford to turn back the clock. Research to beat prostate cancer has lagged behind the search for cures for other serious diseases for years. Over the past decade, the nation has invested only about 5 cents of every federal cancer research dollar to beat prostate cancer.

Incongruently, the disease accounts for 15 percent of all cancer cases and is the most commonly diagnosed non-skin cancer. About 15 percent of all male cancer deaths are due to prostate cancer.

A sound research plan, like any other business plan, requires both fiscal and human capital to fulfill it. The five-year plan added substantial fiscal resources ($1.6 billion) to encourage investigators to focus on prostate cancer research.

It was delivered at a time when one of the top researchers in the field, Dr. Jonathan Simons, now director of Winship Cancer Center in Atlanta, called a career in prostate cancer research “professional suicide.” Thanks to the current plan, that sentiment has changed.

However, without a commitment of fiscal resources, the field of prostate cancer will lose both research momentum and the talent to continue moving it forward. The president needs to give researchers the funding needed to do the job.

William McKissock

Nevada City

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