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Groups express concern as pandemic shifts federal funding away from cancer research

Billions of federal dollars have been rerouted to ending the Covid-19 outbreak
(KJCT)
Published: Mar. 27, 2021 at 5:23 PM CDT
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APPLETON, Wis. (WBAY) - Seven years ago, Nancy Becker was diagnosed with lung cancer after visiting the emergency room for a migraine.

“Thanks to an absolutely wonderful ER physician, when he did the scan it went further down into my chest,” Becker said.

Becker previously smoked cigarettes and in November she was deemed cancer free, yet she understands how different things could’ve been.

“There’s a very high mortality rate, I fortunately was caught in stage one, which most lung cancer patients are caught in stage four because it’s very silent,” Becker said.

Last week, she spent her time contacting Wisconsin lawmakers in Congress to increase federal funding for lung cancer research.

According to the American Lung Association, two-thirds of people diagnosed with lung cancer never smoked or were former smokers.

“Most people who start smoking combustible cigarettes do it as a child. And you know, the real responsibility here is the corporation that markets products that used as directed kills half of its customers,” Pat McKone, the senior director for public policy and advocacy for the American Lung Association of Wisconsin, said.

Yet, research funds are in jeopardy in general and it has to do with pandemic, according to the American Cancer Society. It states that research has stalled at places such as the National Institute of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention with both dedicating their resources to ending the Covid-19 outbreak.

“What we’re asking is that the federal government allocate $10 billion to restart research,” Greta Johnson of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network said. “Research was put on the sidelines because of the pandemic. Clinical trials were kind of pushed to a halt.”

For Becker, she’s dedicated to the funding fight because she knows tomorrow isn’t guaranteed.

“It taught me life is precious, everyday matters.”

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