Tester rallies leading scientists in fight against cancer

Senator tours National Cancer Institute, voices support for cutting-edge treatment technology

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) –As Congress works to provide needed funding for pioneering medical research, Senator Jon Tester today visited the country’s leading cancer specialists and delivered a message: Montanans are counting on them.

“Cancer is the leading cause of death in the Treasure State,” Tester told scientists at the National Cancer Institute.  “I want you to know that folks in my state appreciate your work for a cure.”

The National Cancer Institute (NCI)—in Bethesda, Md.—is the largest of the 28 separate institutes and centers comprising the National Institutes of Health, the federal government’s leading medical research agency.

“Our rural and frontier communities define the character of our people, but that also presents the challenge of traveling great distances so folks can get quality care,” Tester said.

Tester touted the work of Montanans in the fight against cancer, especially the work being done by Billings Clinic, a part of the Community Cancer Centers Program, sponsored by the National Cancer Institute.  As a member of the influential Appropriations Committee, Tester has helped secure federal assistance for the Cancer Center.

 “We Montanans pride ourselves on being tough,” Tester said.  “Because of our frontier heritage, Montanans know what it’s like to fight against the elements and what life has dealt us… We are proud to have a rich and talented workforce that is supplemented by fantastic educational institutions in the state.”

Tester also raised the asbestos-related health emergency in Libby as an example of the urgency of NCI’s work.  Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Environmental Protection Agency declared the situation in Libby a Public Health Emergency.

“It was a welcome but long-overdue acknowledgement of the tragic devastation of that proud timber community in one the most beautiful places in the world,” Tester said.  “ Hundreds of people died.  Many more are sick.  Mesothelioma and asbestosis are rampant throughout the community. ”

Tester today saw firsthand the ongoing results of the nation’s investments in cancer research as he toured NCI’s pediatric wing and laboratories.  He also spoke with some of the country’s leading doctors and scientists who briefed him on cutting-edge cancer treatments being developed at the NIH Clinical Center.

Tester vowed to support further investments, adding, “I am proud to be your partner in these efforts… The battle against cancer is too important for partisan politics.”