Americans favor increased funding for cancer treatment research

2 min read

A new STAT-Harvard poll finds overwhelming bipartisan support among Americans for President Obama’s proposed National Cancer Moonshot, with eight out of ten favoring at least a 20% increase in federal cancer research spending. Nearly half of those polled view cancer as the most serious health condition in the U.S. today; however, more than two-thirds believe that cancer treatments are more successful than they were 10 years ago.

It’s rare to find this kind of optimism in American public opinion right now, according to Robert Blendon, Richard L. Menschel Professor of Health Policy and Political Analysis at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, who oversaw the poll. “This is really quite unusual, in that there’s a real sense that progress is being made [against cancer] in a country where there’s real skepticism that anything is getting better,” he said in a March 25, 2016 STAT article.

But the moonshot may be too focused on treatment and not enough on prevention, according to a group of 70 public health deans, including Harvard Chan School’s Acting Dean David Hunter, Vincent L. Gregory Professor in Cancer Prevention. They wrote a March 21 letter to Vice President Joe Biden, who is overseeing the effort.