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LA Times: Cancer registry funding cuts could jeopardize data and critical research

Cancer researchers and data analysts who make up the California Cancer Registry fear losing critical funding for the registry, which has been an important system that has tracked cancer patients for more than three decades. The Cancer Registry is the main hub for collecting all cancer patient data throughout the state for research to advance the diagnosis, treatment, health outcomes and life expectancy for patients.

doctor looking at x-ray

Cancer researchers fear that shrinking funding for a program that tracks cancer cases across California could threaten its future.

The California Cancer Registry gathers information about cancer cases diagnosed in the state, providing crucial information for researchers. The data has helped detect rising cases of breast cancer among Japanese women who moved to the United States; link pesticides to brain tumors in children; and pinpoint racial disparities in cancer diagnosis and outcomes.

The program has relied in part on state tax revenue from cigarette sales under Proposition 99, a 1988 ballot measure that boosted taxes by 25 cents per pack. As that revenue has fallen, the cancer registry program is expected to see a budget decrease of $1.6 million, driven largely by the decline in tobacco sales, according to figures provided by the California Department of Finance.

State officials say the budgeted money that flows through the state for the program — including state funds and some federal money — is slated to decrease from roughly $12.2 million to $10.7 million.

As of Tuesday evening, Marsom said that program representatives had met with California Department of Public Health staff and were told that “they believe they will be able to find enough money to keep the regional cancer registries flat funded for the coming year,” although “there was not an absolute commitment.”

The timeline for budget changes is short, as lawmakers must send a completed spending plan to Gov. Gavin Newsom by June 15. Even if the state manages to keep funding flat for the program, Marsom argued that a longer-term solution is needed as tax revenues tied to cigarettes are expected to keep falling.

Read the full article below.

pic from the shoulder up of Matthew Marsom
Without it, we’re just going to be blindfolded in our ability to push back against this disease, PHI Senior Vice President for Program and Public Policy, Matthew Marsom

Originally published by Los Angeles Times

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