Guest Update by Dr. John E. Niederhuber
Cancer Control Month: A Message of Hope
President George W. Bush proclaimed April as National Cancer Control Month to "encourage citizens, government agencies, private businesses, nonprofit organizations, and other interested groups to join in activities that will increase awareness of how to prevent and control cancer." The President's official proclamation gave recognition to the goal of increasing public awareness and encouraging people to help themselves prevent certain types of cancer. He urged individuals to take a number of proven steps to reduce their risk, such as avoiding tobacco, eating well, and exercising regularly. In addition, he encourages "all Americans to get regular preventive screenings and speak with a health care provider about additional ways to reduce the risk of developing cancer."
President Bush also praised the federal agencies that have helped the United States "lead the world in cutting-edge medical research." He noted that the Administration's FY 2007 budget request includes $5.9 billion for cancer-related activities by agencies of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) - most of which is through NCI. He promised that "America will continue to aggressively fight cancer, encourage innovative research, and spread hope to those affected."
We share the optimism of the proclamation that the new understanding of diseases, better diagnostic tools, and innovative treatments help provide hope and healing to those who have been diagnosed with cancer.
This message of hope is heard loud and clear in a new series airing on public radio stations this month called "Walking Through the Storm." The four-part series from Human Media and The Networks, Inc., funded by NCI, demonstrates what cancer survivors can teach all of us about hope and the quality of life when faced with a serious illness.
The first hour-long documentary in the series, "Journey for Recovery," recounts how cancer patients confront their fears, real and imagined, and provides a scientific look at how attitude affects health, such as how mind/body techniques can diminsh cancer pain. In the second program, "Humor and Health," professional comedians who are cancer survivors teach the health benefits of humor and laughter. This documentary also interviews playwrights who have used the stage for humor and poignant insight about their journeys through illness.
I hope you will listen in on this inspiring series, and I recommend that you check with your local public radio stations for their scheduling of "Walking Through the Storm."
In addition, NCI's Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences (DCCPS) - which aims to reduce risk, incidence, and deaths from cancer, as well as enhance the quality of life for cancer survivors - has produced an excellent 12-minute video on "The Excitement of Cancer Control Research," which is available online and well worth your viewing during our April celebration of cancer control. DCCPS conducts and supports an integrated program of the highest quality genetic, epidemiologic, behavioral, social, and surveillance cancer research.
Finally, as we observe National Cancer Control Month, I join President Bush in commending the strength and courage of more than 10 million cancer survivors whose perseverance is an inspiration to all Americans. As he promises, "Cancer can be prevented, treated, and defeated," and we will continue to strive to control the suffering and death due to cancer.