- Poorly funded cancers: colon, endometrial, liver and bile duct, cervical, ovarian, pancreatic and lung
- Well-funded cancers: breast, pediatric, leukemia and lymphoma
- All cancers with stigmatized behavior (i.e. lung cancer and smoking) are poorly funded
- Underfunding of these common cancers could negatively impact research, drug development
Colon, endometrial, liver and bile duct, cervical, ovarian, pancreatic and lung cancers were all poorly funded compared to how common they are and how many deaths they cause, the study found. In contrast, breast cancer, leukemia, lymphoma and pediatric cancers were all well-funded, respective to their impact on society.
The study is the first to compare nonprofit funding distribution in the United States across cancer types. It will be published in the Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network.
"The goal of this study is not to divert funds away from cancers that are well-supported, but rather expand funding for other cancers that aren't getting enough support currently," said corresponding author Dr. Suneel Kamath, who was the chief fellow in the department of hematology and oncology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine when he conducted the study. "These are all deadly and life-altering diseases that deserve our attention and support."
Cancer-related nonprofit organizations play an important role in funding medical research, supporting the education of patients and their families and influencing health policy. Underfunding of these common cancers could negatively impact research, drug development and the number of FDA drug approvals for poorly funded cancers.
"Well-funded patient advocacy organizations should be applauded for their successes," said co-author Dr. Sheetal Kircher, assistant professor of hematology and oncology at Feinberg and a Northwestern Medicine oncologist. "We hope to bring awareness to the organizations with less relative funding so we can collaborate to improve funding and outcomes for all patients with cancer."