Bill to prevent childhood cancer awaits signature

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. House of Representatives has passed U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown’s (D-OH) bipartisan bill to advance childhood cancer research, prevention and access to treatment. Brown’s bill, the Childhood Cancer Survivorship, Treatment, Access and Research Act of 2017 (Childhood Cancer STAR Act), is also sponsored by Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI), and has been called “the most comprehensive childhood cancer legislation ever taken up by Congress,” by Children’s Cause Cancer Advocacy. Brown is urging the President to move quickly in signing this legislation.

“This bill will expand the scope of childhood cancer research, so that we can better fight this disease” Brown says. “I urge the President to move swiftly on this legislation, so that we can get Ohio families the resources they need to prevent and treat childhood cancer.”

Brown’s bill would address childhood cancer by doing the following:

Improving Childhood Cancer Research

— Reauthorize the National Childhood Cancer Registry through FY2022 and authorize the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to award grants to states to help improve state cancer registries.

— Direct the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to utilize all information and samples available to further research into childhood, adolescent, and young adult cancer.

Improving Care for Childhood Cancer Survivors

— Direct the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to develop and establish a pilot program to help monitor and care for childhood cancer survivors. This program would work to establish a task force to develop and test standards for high-quality childhood cancer survivorship care and carry out a demonstration project to improve care coordination as childhood cancer survivors transition to adult care.

Boosting Access to Treatment

— Direct HHS to convene a Workforce Development Collaborative on Medical and Psychosocial Care for Pediatric Cancer Survivors.

— Direct NIH to investigate outcomes for, and barriers faced by, pediatric cancer survivors within minority or medically underserved populations and follow-up care for pediatric cancer survivors, including research on the late effects of cancer treatment and long-term complications.

— Directs the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to use NIH’s findings to make recommendations for removing barriers to childhood cancer survivors getting and paying for adequate medical care.

Brown has been leading efforts to address children’s health issues. In January, Brown led efforts to extend the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), known in Ohio as “Healthy Start,” for six years, protecting the healthcare of more than 209,000 Ohio children, families and pregnant mothers.

Brown introduced bipartisan legislation in May to help newborns suffering from withdrawal recover in the best care setting and provide support for their families.

In April, Brown’s bipartisan bill to reauthorize the Children’s Hospitals Graduate Medical Education (CHGME) program for an additional five years and increase its authorization to $330 million per year passed out of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee.