Today is the Rally for Medical Research in Washington, DC, held in conjunction with the annual meeting of cancer researchers. The point of the rally is to oppose the science research cuts going into effect because of sequestration. Today and every day are the right day to speak out against science budget cuts and in favor of cancer research.
Why speak out for cancer research budgets? Start with the prevalence of cancer and its human costs. In the US, 575,000 people die every year from cancer. Thankfully, some do survive. As a result, there are 13.8 million cancer survivors in the US. Half of those people will later die of cancer. Also, there are 1.6 million new cancers per year. In a decade, that’s about the same as the populations of the cities (not suburbs) of LA, NY and Chicago. The financial stakes of cancer also are huge: $ 20 billion per year by 2020 in the US. For all the awful numbers, see this page at the National Cancer Institute.
Support for cancer research also makes sense because investing in science is good business. This paper by Batelle Labs concluded as follows:
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The $3.8 billion the U.S. government invested in the Human Genome Project (HGP) from 1988 to 2003 helped drive $796 billion in economic impact and the generation of $244 billion in total personal income, according to a study released today by Battelle. In 2010 alone, the human genome sequencing projects and associated genomics research and industry activity directly and indirectly generated $67 billion in U.S. economic output and supported 310,000 jobs that produced $20 billion in personal income. The genomics-enabled industry also provided $3.7 billion in federal taxes during 2010.
Please, speak out for science in general, and cancer research in particular.