In a heartfelt proclamation, President Joseph R. Biden Jr. has declared September 2023 as National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, shedding light on the extraordinary courage, strength, and unwavering optimism displayed by the tens of thousands of families currently battling childhood cancer. This poignant declaration serves as a poignant reminder of the pressing need to address childhood cancer, the leading cause of death by disease for children.
Cancer, a relentless adversary, shows no mercy, and its impact is particularly devastating when it affects the youngest members of our society. Instead of enjoying the simple pleasures of childhood, such as school and outdoor play, children diagnosed with cancer often find themselves fighting for their lives within the walls of hospitals. This diagnosis takes an emotional and financial toll on families, friends, and entire communities. Caregivers are often left grappling with an overwhelming flood of medical information, trying to make sense of treatment options while navigating the mounting burden of medical bills. They endeavor to stay hopeful, cherishing every precious moment of joy with their beloved children.
Over the past half-century, researchers have made significant strides in treating certain types of pediatric cancer, but the battle is far from won. Last year, President Biden and the First Lady initiated the Cancer Moonshot, setting ambitious goals to reduce America's overall cancer death rate by at least half over the next 25 years. This initiative aims to transform more cancers from fatal sentences into treatable diseases, all while enhancing support for patients and their families.
As a crucial first step, President Biden collaborated with Congress to establish the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health, securing bipartisan funding of $2.5 billion. This funding will be instrumental in developing breakthroughs in cancer prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. Additionally, partnerships will be forged to ensure these breakthroughs reach patients and clinics nationwide. Simultaneously, the administration is working diligently to make healthcare more affordable for millions of American families, expanding coverage through Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act and helping families save $800 per year on health insurance premiums.
The National Cancer Institute is also playing a pivotal role in the fight against childhood cancer. They have developed a National Cancer Plan to expedite the development of effective treatments, including those designed specifically for children. The Childhood Cancer Data Initiative offers free molecular testing of tumors, facilitating the implementation of the RACE for Children Act, which expedites the approval of precision pediatric cancer drugs. Furthermore, the Childhood Cancer STAR Reauthorization Act has increased funding for childhood cancer research, encompassing studies on late effects of childhood cancer treatment and innovative approaches to survivor care. As part of the Cancer Moonshot, the National Cancer Institute launched the Childhood Cancer–Data Integration for Research, Education, Care, and Clinical Trials—a groundbreaking public-private partnership aimed at supporting children, adolescents, and young adults with cancer and their families on their journey.
During National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, the nation pays tribute to the immense bravery displayed by the tens of thousands of children battling cancer every day. It also honors the loved ones who stand unwaveringly by their side. The dedication of medical professionals, researchers, companies, philanthropies, and academic institutions in the relentless pursuit of early detection methods, safer treatments, and cures is celebrated.
Together, as a united front, the nation is determined to create a future free of childhood cancer. President Biden's proclamation serves as a call to action for all citizens, government agencies, private businesses, nonprofit organizations, the media, and other interested groups to increase awareness and support the fight against childhood cancer. Those in need of guidance, information, or support are encouraged to connect with trained specialists at 1-800-4-CANCER or visit www.cancer.gov.