Payne, Lance Send Bipartisan Letter to Appropriations Committee Requesting Funding for Colorectal Cancer Research

Apr 2, 2014 Issues: Health Care

Washington, D.C. – Congressmen Donald M. Payne, Jr. (NJ-10) and Leonard Lance (NJ-07) led a bipartisan letter, with 29 other Members of Congress, to the Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, requesting that the subcommittee maintain colorectal cancer as eligible for research funding under the Peer Reviewed Cancer Research Program (PRCRP). 

“After losing my father to colon cancer two years ago, it has become my mission to do everything I can to raise awareness around the importance of research to detect, prevent, and treat this dreaded disease,” said Rep. Payne, Jr. “When colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer among men and women in this country, I believe it must be a top priority of Congress to maintain funding for life-saving research and advancement that the Peer Reviewed Cancer Research Program helps  to provide.  ”

“I commend Congressman Payne for his leadership in support of the Peer Reviewed Cancer Research Program,” said Lance, a member of the Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee.  "U.S.-led cancer research has already aided millions of Americans through the discovery of innovative therapies and preventative measures.  We must continue to support this life-saving research as we fight to win the war on cancer.” 

Congressmen Payne, Jr. and Lance have championed the cause of raising awareness around the importance of life-saving cancer screenings.   Recently, Rep. Payne, Jr. held a meeting at the White House with top policy officials, calling for the Administration to close a loophole in the Affordable Care Act, which fails to fully cover Medicare patients who receive colonoscopies if the screening leads to removal of a polyp. Rep. Payne, Jr. is a cosponsor of H.R. 1070, which would close this loophole. That same day, Rep. Payne, Jr. spoke at the National Press Club where he helped launch an effort to increase the nation’s colorectal cancer screening rate to 80 percent by the year 2018. 

The full text of the letter can be found below:

The Honorable Rodney Frelinghuysen
Subcommittee on Defense
Appropriations Committee
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515
The Honorable Peter Visclosky
Ranking Member
Subcommittee on Defense
Appropriations Committee
U.S. House of Representatives
1016 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515  

Dear Chairman Frelinghuysen and Ranking Member Visclosky:

As you begin consideration of the Fiscal Year 2015 Department of Defense (DoD) Appropriations bill, we respectfully ask that you maintain colorectal cancer as eligible for research funding under the Peer Reviewed Cancer Research Program (PRCRP).

Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States. This year, it is estimated that more than 140,000 Americans will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer and more than 50,000 will die from this disease.  Colorectal cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer among active duty military personnel. A  2002 study of the Military Health System found 355,422 military beneficiaries were identified to have a cancer diagnosis. Of the more than 60 different types of cancer diagnoses identified in this population, prostate, breast, lung and colorectal cancers accounted for more than 73 percent of all cancer diagnoses. Colorectal cancer is a malignancy that has been recognized by the Department of Veterans Affairs as presumed to be service connected based on hazardous exposure to ionizing radiation. 

A hallmark of the PRCRP is its focus on innovative research in cancers through the support of exceptionally talented, early-career researchers and clinicians who have the potential to advance the field of cancer research and deliver breakthroughs in the prevention, detection, and treatment of cancer.  Colorectal cancer research has been funded through the PRCRP program since FY 2010. To date (FY 2010-FY 2012), the PRCRP has funded 14 colorectal cancer research grants for a total of $6.2 million.

The PRCRP has funded ground breaking discoveries, including the identification of two new molecular targets which could lead to new treatments for patients with colorectal cancer. PRCRP has also supported research into a non-invasive genetic urine test for colorectal cancer, as well as research on genes associated with ionizing radiation sensitivity and resistance.

Thank you for your consideration of our request to include colorectal cancer as eligible for research funding under the PRCRP in FY 2015. Without the PRCRP, important colorectal cancer research that benefits military service members, their families, and the broader research and cancer communities is likely to go unfunded.


Donald M. Payne, Jr.
Leonard Lance
Earl Blumenauer
Suzanne Bonamici
Julia Brownley
Matt Cartwright
Elijah E. Cummings
John Delaney
Sam Farr
Chaka Fattah
Mike Fitzpatrick
Raul Grijalva
Sheila Jackson Lee
Barbara Lee
Carolyn Maloney
Patrick Meehan
Gregory Meeks
Eleanor Holmes Norton
Mark Pocan
Phil Roe
Brad Schneider
Jan Schakowsky
Chris Smith
Frederica Wilson
Frank Wolf
Steve Israel
Bobby L. Rush
Ben Ray Lujan
Charles B. Rangel
Al Green
Sander Levin