April 28, 1987 By the President of the United States
This year we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Act that created the National Cancer Institute. For half a century the NCI staff has worked with talent, dedication, and creativity and made much progress in cancer control programs. Our national investment in the NCI is paying impressive dividends. Cancer patients are living longer today and leading fuller lives than ever before; since the early 1940s, the 5-year relative survival rate for cancer has risen from 30 percent to 50 percent.
In its first decade, the NCI began to assist State cancer control activities and launched a journal for the scientific community. In its second decade, the NCI expanded grants for research and cancer control and supported better training of doctors and dentists in cancer research, diagnosis, and treatment. In the 1960s, the NCI developed task forces for specific types of cancer, established discipline-oriented laboratories and clinics, and integrated laboratory and clinical research programs.
The National Cancer Act of 1971, capitalizing on early achievements and intensifying our Nation's commitment to cancer control, expanded the NCI's missions and made it a unique structure capable of coherent and systematic attack on the complex problem of cancer. The NCI, part of the National Institutes of Health within the Department of Health and Human Services, today conducts and sponsors research, education, and training and collects and disseminates information worldwide.
The NCI's basic research over the last 15 years has brought about unparalleled understanding of the cancer cell and extraordinary insights into cellular biology. Applying knowledge now at hand could cut the annual cancer death rate by 50 percent by the year 2000. To reach this goal, the NCI urges us to stop smoking, cut fat consumption to 30 percent or less of total calories, and double daily consumption of fiber from whole-grain breads, cereals, fruits, and vegetables. All adults should also ask their doctors about special early cancer detection tests. Two such tests are mammography for breast cancer and Pap smears for cervical cancer.
The NCI also calls for nationwide application of state-of-the-art treatments for cancer. A national network now links major laboratories and cancer centers with doctors in local communities, bringing research advances to the bedside. NCI programs provide the latest treatment news through the computerized PDQ (Physician Data Query) System. The Cancer Information Service, whose toll-free telephone number is 1 - 800 - 4 - CANCER, answers cancer-related questions from the public, cancer patients and their families, and health professionals.
In recognition of the 50th anniversary of the National Cancer Institute and in appreciation of the Institute's achievements, the Congress, by Public Law 100 - 24, has designated May 1987 as ``National Cancer Institute Month'' and authorized and requested the President to issue a proclamation in observance of this month.
Now, Therefore, I, Ronald Reagan, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim the month of May 1987 as National Cancer Institute Month. I urge health professionals, the media, civic organizations, and all other interested people and groups to unite during this time in public recognition of the contributions of the National Cancer Institute to our commitment to control cancer.
In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-eighth day of April, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and eighty-seven, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and eleventh.
[Filed with the Office of the Federal Register, 11:19 a.m., April 28, 1987]