A critical and decisive battle against childhood cancer has been won.
The U.S. Senate joined the House in overwhelmingly supporting (96-1) the Research to Accelerate Cures and Equity for Children Act.
Now, we urge President Donald Trump to promptly sign the RACE for Children Act embedded in the FDA Reauthorization Act — and unleash America’s awesome power of innovation and creativity to give children with cancer the best possible chance to survive.
You might be one of the lucky people that has not had to deal with childhood cancer in your family or in your group of friends. You also would be in the minority.
The facts are clear — one in 285 children in the United States is diagnosed with cancer before the age of 20. The average age of a child with cancer is 6 years old, For adults, it is age 67.
While more adults get cancer than children, a closer look reveals some sad truths.
There are vastly more treatment options for adults than children. In 20 years, the Food and Drug Administration has approved nearly 190 new cancer treatments for adults, but only three for children.
We think of cancer survival as a victory, but the battle after cancer can be as difficult. A child surviving cancer has a 95 percent chance of developing a chronic illness by age 45, and is 80 percent more likely to develop life-threatening conditions.
Fortunately, the technology now exists, so federal laws must be fixed.
The RACE for Children Act updates longstanding federal policies based on the latest scientific understanding of cancer and will encourage new, cutting-edge childhood cancer research and accelerate medical developments — medical developments that undoubtedly will lead to an expansion in treatments.
The relentless effort of U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, a Colorado Democrat, and Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio deserve our gratitude and recognition for all the good this bill will bring.
In the end, this overwhelming achievement shows we Americans will rise above our differences and join together for our children. The light and faith we share as citizens of the greatest nation on earth has not been extinguished. Those heart-wrenching stories of infants suffering from cancer soon will be a thing of the past.
As we reflect on this giant leap forward in the fight against childhood cancer, let us renew our commitment to continue the fight for the health and well-being of all our children.
My family has been blessed with health — that blessing and our faith pushes us to fight with everything we have to ensure all children not only survive, but thrive. As such, we fight on!
Jorge Luis Lopez is a Miami attorney and member of the American Cancer Society Board of Directors. Contact him at JorgeLuis@lopezgovlaw.com