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Esophageal cancer research is critically underfunded; despite incidence and mortality rates

The overall death rate from cancer in the United States has fallen 20% from its peak in 1991. Breast cancer death rates have dropped 27% from 1990 to 2005 and colon cancer death rates, which have been declining for 20 years, fell about 30% from 2000 to 2010. These great developments are thanks, in part, to nationwide public awareness campaigns, improvements in early detection methods and billions of dollars in research funding.

Unfortunately, as these cancer death rates have fallen, esophageal cancer has increased so much that it is now the fastest growing cancer in the United States.

Esophageal cancer is also among the deadliest of cancers, with an overall five-year survival rate of only 17.5%. Esophageal cancer’s survival rate is especially daunting as compared to breast cancer and colon cancer’s five-year survival rates of 89.2% and 98.9%, respectively.

There are major disparities in esophageal cancer research funding, both from the government and private funders.

The National Cancer Institute decreased its investment in research of esophageal cancer by 15% in 2012; esophageal cancer research receives a mere $28.0 million out of NCI’s total $5.07 billion budget; that’s approximately half of one percent.

While The American Cancer Society reports that they currently fund 1,165 cancer research projects, only 8 of those research projects are related to esophageal cancer.

In the past three years, The Salgi Esophageal Cancer Research Foundation has been approached by 13 medical research facilities from across the United States, requesting funding for their research projects dedicated to esophageal cancer.

Disparities in cancer research funding, especially pertaining to esophageal cancer research, which gets just a tiny slice of the cancer research pie, is not something new. In 2009 “a CBS News analysis of data released by the American Cancer Society reveals a large disparity in funding for different types of cancer.”

“Declines are concentrated among the cancers that receive the most research funding, while some of the fastest growing cancers are getting little publicity or funding,” CBS News medical correspondent Dr. Jon LaPook reports in a CBS News Article.

Researchers from the Biological Sciences Department at California State University studied the research funding distribution for different cancers in the United States. They analyzed research funding based on “burden metrics”, which included incidences, mortalities, economic costs and Years of Life Lost (YLL). What they found was that there are inequities in cancer research funding.

Researchers Ashley JR Carter* and Cecine N Nguyen reported in their article in 2012 that “overfunded cancers include breast cancer, prostate cancer and leukemia; underfunded cancers include bladder, esophageal cancer, liver, oral, pancreatic, stomach and uterine cancer.”

Carter and Nguyen stated in their research article that “we recommend redistribution from overfunded cancers to underfunded cancers to improve the effectiveness of cancer research funding.

Can you imagine how many lives would have been lost if breast and colon cancer did not receive sufficient research funding, if there was little public awareness and if there were no standard screenings to detect these deadly cancers in their earlier stages? Unfortunately, esophageal cancer is facing just that. With little public awareness, no standard or routine screenings and underfunded research projects, esophageal cancer is increasing; over 600% in past decades.

The good news is that you can help change these statistics regarding esophageal cancer by joining our mission to raise awareness and encourage early detection of esophageal cancer.

Spread the word by liking us on Facebook and sharing important news and information concerning esophageal cancer. Donations to The Salgi Esophageal Cancer Research Foundation are 100% tax deductible, as we are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charity, as recognized by the IRS.

Our mission is to save lives by reducing the number of incidences of esophageal cancer. This can be done not only by encouraging early detection, but through funding research, which explores prevention of esophageal cancer and easier ways to diagnose esophageal cancer at earlier stages.

Unfortunately, esophageal cancer is typically caught in the late stages, as symptoms often arise too late and once the cancer has spread and becomes difficult, if not impossible, to treat and cure.

Did you know that patients who are diagnosed with advanced esophageal cancer typically only receive treatments to relieve symptoms in attempts to improve the quality of life before they pass away?  Funding esophageal cancer research will also fuel projects which are working to find new and improved current treatments for those who are diagnosed with esophageal cancer.

In order to meet this life-saving mission, esophageal cancer research needs funding. There is an enormous opportunity for you to save and improve lives. Make a donation to esophageal cancer research efforts by clicking here: Donate today.
 

 

 

Sources:
 
A comparison of cancer burden and research spending reveals discrepancies in the distribution of research funding. Ashley JR Carter* and Cecine N Nguyen. Biological Sciences Department, California State University Long Beach, 17 July 2012, © 2012 Carter and Nguyen; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.
The Disparity In Cancer Research Funding.Jonathan M.D.CBS, May 27, 2009.
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