Sequester cuts could impact cancer research

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- We are learning more about the impact of the sequester funding cuts that went into effect at the beginning of March, and they may have a big impact on cancer patients.

Jobs and research funding in healthcare are on the chopping block. The massive, across the board cuts went into effect last Friday. Federal spending in Tennessee is looking at $108 million in cuts. That will have damagaging effects on health and science research: with a 5.1% reduction in cancer research, clinical trials will be cut, new agents available for treatment will decrease, and the amount of trials available will go down. It also means patients will have to travel greater distances to be part of a clinical trial.

"This is going to affect not just me but society as a whole," says clinical research study coordinator Joni Spoon. "There are very few people not touched by cancer in some form. By reducing the funds available for clinical research we're going backwards. Reducing needs to be limited to things that don't affect our health or the society as a whole."

Spoon is calling on Congress to make a choice: either replace the sequester with a smarter, more balanced mix of spending cuts and new revenues, or brace for the devastating consequences.

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