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Sequestration would slash funding for cancer research

Published On: Feb 25 2013 07:07:28 PM CST   Updated On: Feb 25 2013 07:27:15 PM CST
MADISON, Wis. -

If federal budget cuts take effect March 1, health care spending would be one of the areas taking a hit, from vaccines for children to prevention programs for infectious diseases and cancer research.

Millions of dollars are in jeopardy at a time when advocates say when cancer research is showing some very positive breakthroughs.

Cancer patients, survivors and researchers said they hope the budget cuts don't happen.

The American Cancer Society said sequestration cuts will derail critical research. The cuts to the National Institutes of Health are estimated at $1.2 billion.

It would translate to $250 million in cuts to cancer research across the country, with $19 million in cuts to researchers in Wisconsin.

"People are playing politics with people's lives, and it's incredibly frustrating," said Emily Rohloff, of the American Cancer Society -- Wisconsin. "Breakthroughs will be left in test tubes in labs, but it's also going to hurt research down the road."

Kirby Davidson, whose son, Ryan, lost his 10-year battle with brain cancer at age 16, said cancer research is what inspired his son to fight on, which is why the Davidson family continues fundraising for cancer research in Ryan's honor.

"I just can't imagine cutting funding for federal cancer research right now, but unfortunately everything's on the table with the sequestration and cancer research is one of them," Davidson said. "We've made great strides and this would be a huge step back."

The American Cancer Society said the best course of action is for people to reach out to their representatives in Washington, D.C. The organization said that if these cuts happen, it could set research back nearly five years.

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