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Myeloma Minute
April 5, 2009

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Urge Your Senators to Cosponsor the 21st Century Cancer ALERT Act!

The 21st Century Cancer ALERT Act Introduced in the Senate
Urge Your Senators to Cosponsor this Important Legislation!

Senators Ted Kennedy (D-MA) and Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) have introduced S. 717, the 21st Century Cancer Access to Life-Saving Early detection, Research and Treatment (ALERT) Act, a bill to comprehensively address the challenges our nation faces in battling cancer. This is the first sweeping cancer legislation introduced since the National Cancer Act in 1971, authored by Kennedy.  Other cosponsors of S. 717 include Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Tim Johnson (D-SD), and Barbara Mikulski (D-MD).

The 21st Century Cancer ALERT Act provides critical funding for promising research in early detection, and supplies grants for screening and referrals for treatment. These measures will also ensure patient access to prevention and early detection, which is supplemented by increased access to clinical trials and information.

The bill places an emphasis on strengthening cancer research and the urgent need for resources to both prevent and detect cancers at an early stage. The bill strives to give scientists the tools they need to fight cancer and to understand more thoroughly how the disease works. Through fostering new treatments, increased preventative measures and funding for research, the ALERT Act begins a new chapter in how Americans will live with and fight cancer.  Additionally, the legislation calls for the National Cancer Institute to establish a specific grants program for myeloma and seven other cancers that have a 5-year survival rate of less than 50 percent as well as report annually on progress regarding research in these crucial areas.

To view IMF’s press release on the 21st Century Cancer ALERT Act, please visit canceralert.myeloma.org.

The Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee is expected to mark up the 21st Century Cancer ALERT Act by the end of April.  Additional cosponsors for the 21st Century Cancer ALERT Act are needed before the Senate HELP Committee marks up the bill.  For this reason, we need your help.  Please contact your U.S. Senators TODAY and ask them to cosponsor this bill! 

To find out the contact information for your Senators, please go to www.senate.gov and use the “Find Your Senators” tool in the top right of the web page.  Below is a template letter for you personalize and forward to your Senators. 


United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senator LAST NAME:

As your constituent and a strong advocate against myeloma, I'm writing to express my support for the 21st Century Cancer ALERT Act (S. 717), which has recently been introduced in the Senate, and respectfully request that you become a cosponsor of this important legislation.


In 1971, the United States declared war on cancer. Despite momentous strides and life-saving advances since then, the fundamental goal of the war - to diminish death and suffering from cancer - has not been realized. The U.S. must reinvigorate the war on cancer—we must energize science and remove the barriers to discovering and delivering the cures for cancer.

This important bill represents a bipartisan effort between Senators Edward Kennedy (D-MA) and Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX). The 21st Century Cancer ALERT Act re-ignites America's "war on cancer" by:

  • Placing an emphasis on early detection and promoting the discovery and development of biomarkers to detect cancers at the earliest possible stage when cancer is most treatable. The bill also has a particular focus on childhood, rare and high-mortality cancers like myeloma.

  • Strengthening the cancer research process by promoting public-private partnerships and collaboration between government agencies. The bill also has a focus on translational research so new discoveries and breakthroughs in the laboratory make their way to patients' bedsides as quickly as possible.

  • Improving access to cancer care for underserved populations by expanding access to clinical trials, patient navigation services, and screening and treatment for colorectal cancer.

The Act is a crucial opportunity to make progress in our fight to end suffering and death from cancer. Again, I urge you to cosponsor the bill and to work with your colleagues to ensure it passes quickly through the Senate.

City, State  Zip Code
Phone number


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