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Oncologist. 2009 Feb;14(2):110-6. doi: 10.1634/theoncologist.2008-0270. Epub 2009 Jan 15.

Five strategies for accelerating the war on cancer in an era of budget deficits.

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  • 1National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.


In recent years, the National Institutes of Health's largest institute, the National Cancer Institute (NCI), has adapted to difficult economic conditions by leveraging its robust infrastructure -- which includes risk factor surveillance and population monitoring, research centers (focused on basic, translation, clinical, and behavioral sciences), clinical trials and health care research networks, and rigorously validated statistical models -- to maximize the impact of scientific progress on the public health. To continue advancement and realize the opportunity of significant, population-level changes in cancer mortality, the NCI recommends that five national-level actions be taken: (1) significantly increase enrollment of Medicare patients into cancer clinical trials through adequate physician reimbursement, (2) increase NCI/Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services collaboration on clinical trials research to evaluate the therapeutic efficacy of anticancer drugs, (3) establish a national outcomes research demonstration project to test strategies for measuring and improving health care quality and provide an evidence base for public policy, (4) leverage existing tobacco-control collaborations and possible new authorities at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to realize the outstanding health gains possible from a reduction in tobacco use, and (5) increase colorectal cancer screening rates though intensified collaboration between federal agencies working to address barriers to access and use of screening. These cost-effective strategies provide the opportunity for extraordinary results in an era of budget deficits. Of the chronic diseases, cancer has the strongest national research infrastructure that can be leveraged to produce rapid results to inform budget prioritization and public policy, as well as mobilize new projects to answer critical public health questions.

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