Advocacy Groups Urge President Joe Biden to Maintain Focus on Kidney Cancer

February 16, 2021

Advocacy Groups | <b>Kidney Cancer Assocation</b>

The Kidney Cancer Association, alongside the American Urological Association and a group of kidney cancer-focused advocacy organizations, wrote this week to congratulate then-President-elect Joe Biden and urge him to make the needs of people impacted by kidney cancer and kidney cancer research a top priority for the incoming administration.

The Kidney Cancer Association, alongside the American Urological Association and a group of kidney cancer-focused advocacy organizations, wrote this week to congratulate then-President-elect Joe Biden and urge him to make the needs of people impacted by kidney cancer and kidney cancer research a top priority for the incoming administration.

President Biden has a deep understanding of both the personal devastation and the politics of cancer. His son Joseph Robinette “Beau” Biden III died of brain cancer in 2015. In 2016, Biden spearheaded the National Cancer Moonshot Initiative, which sought to double the rate of progress in cancer and called for more collaborative research efforts.

In the letter, the group highlighted the prevalence and the burden of kidney cancer on people in the US as well as the momentum that diverse stakeholders including patients, caregivers, researchers, physicians, and allied health professionals have achieved in advancing funding for kidney cancer research through efforts like the Kidney Cancer Research Program (KCRP) as part of the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP). Moving forward, innovation, increased access to treatment, and greater health equity will be of great importance to work together on with President Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, and their administration.

Read the full letter (download a PDF):

January 18, 2021

The Honorable Joe Biden
President-Elect
United States of America
1401 Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20230

Dear President-Elect Biden:

The undersigned organizations, comprised of diverse stakeholders within the kidney cancer community, congratulate you on your election to the position of President of the United States. Together, this strong network of organizations, which includes patients, caregivers, researchers, physicians, and allied health professionals, collaborates to advance research on and improve access to treatment for patients with kidney cancer. We write to you today to highlight the importance of awareness around the prevalence and implications of kidney cancer; the need to protect and secure research funding; and the need to increase access to skilled specialists and improved kidney cancer treatments. These concerns deserve the immediate attention of your incoming administration.

Kidney cancer is one of the ten most common cancers, with men being nearly twice as likely to develop kidney cancer than women. Like many cancers, risk factors such as smoking, obesity, high blood pressure, and family history all contribute to the likelihood that person may develop kidney cancer. Sadly, almost 14,000 people in the United States are expected to die of kidney cancer in 2021. Kidney cancer also disproportionately impacts American Indians and Alaska Natives, for whom the kidney cancer incidence and mortality rates near three times those of Asian Pacific Islanders, who are the least likely to develop the disease.* Given this disparate impact, the research and treatment of kidney cancer is both an urgent health policy and health equity priority.

Thankfully, ongoing investment in research on kidney cancer is improving the outlook for kidney cancer patients and families. In 2017, Congress first appropriated $10M to establish the Kidney Cancer Research Program (KCRP) as part of the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP). Since that time, the Kidney Cancer Research Program has funded nearly $42 million in research towards identifying innovative treatments and potential cures for this devastating disease.

Despite CDMRP and National Institutes of Health funding, kidney cancer remains far too common and deadly. Robust, sustained funding on kidney cancer is vital to providing patients access to care and prolonging the lives of kidney cancer patients.

Thank you for your years of service, both nationally and to the cancer care community. We look forward to collaborating with you and your administration to unleash new breakthroughs, increase access to treatment, and support patients through the existing Cancer Moonshot Initiative, as well as any new cancer-related initiatives your administration will support. Your commitment to addressing the burden cancer places on Americans and to improving health equity are critical now more than ever. The country continues to struggle to beat COVID-19, and the effects it will have on Americans’ health as they delay or forego cancer treatments and screening is likely to be detrimental. Given your long-standing support for biomedical research and cancer initiatives, this kidney cancer community is eager to work with you and your administration to continue robust investment and innovation in cancer care. Your commitment to improving health equity is of particular importance to the kidney cancer care community, and we would welcome the opportunity to work with you to direct funding to address these unequal outcomes.

We look forward to collaborating with you in the coming years. For additional information, please contact Raymond Wezik at rwezik@auanet.org.

Sincerely,
American Urological Association
Cancer and Careers
Caregiver Action Network
Chris “CJ” Johnson Foundation Inc.
Joey’s Wings Foundation
Judy Nicholson Kidney Cancer Foundation
KCCure – Kidney Cancer Research Alliance
KidneyCAN
Kidney Cancer Association
RetireSafe
VHL Alliance

CC: Ben Wakana

*American Cancer Society, Cancer Facts & Figures 2020, available at:
https://www.cancer.org/content/dam/cancer-org/research/cancer-facts-and-statistics/annual-cancerfacts-and-figures/2020/cancer-facts-and-figures-2020.pdf.