One Voice Against Cancer
Cancer is a group of diseases characterized by uncontrolled growth and spread of abnormal cells. Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the US, exceeded only by heart disease. In the US, 1 of every 4 deaths is from cancer. In 2000, the National Institutes of Health estimated overall costs for cancer at $107 billion. In 2000, the cancer community was represented in Washington, DC by more than 40 different cancer advocacy organizations that were competing with one another for finite resources and public attention. Members of Congress and the Administration were presented different -- and often conflicting -- requests and priorities from the cancer community. While there was wide-spread consensus by the government and the American public that fighting cancer was a top funding priority, the lack of a single voice and aligned policy objectives from individual cancer organizations undermined legislative progress.
The Sheridan Group implemented the following steps to address this challenge:
- Established a coalition devoted exclusively to increasing federal appropriations for cancer. Recruited participants, managed coalitions operations, and provided the strategy for the legislative and communications effort.
- Led the coalition to found an organization, One Voice Against Cancer, to find consensus on common funding goals and to provide national political leaders with a clear set of expectations and accountability on important funding priorities.
- Developed effective messages for advocacy and spearheaded grassroots lobby days on Capitol Hill to substantially elevate and align cancer-related legislative priorities.
Working together, the cancer community elevated the national profile and dialogue around common issues, identified new approaches to addressing root causes, and succeeded in increasing federal funding for cancer programs. The coalition successfully advocated for a 428% increase for the Colorectal Cancer Prevention and Control Initiatives and a doubling of the National Institutes of Health budget. In 2007, for the first time in our nation’s history, US cancer deaths went down. Over the past 15 years, cancer death rates have dropped 11.4% among women and 19.2% among men.