Message of Hope in "Moonshoot" for Cancer

January 20, 2016
Lisa Schulmeister, MN, RN, ACNS-BC, FAAN

Presidential address assures a commitment to cure cancer.

In his January 13, 2016 State of the Union address, President Obama covered a number of topics, including cancer. In his address, he announced a “new moonshot,” a national effort to cure cancer and put Vice President Biden in charge of “Mission Control.” President Obama added that medical research is critical to meeting this goal, and noted how funding to the scientists at the National Institutes of Health has increased. In fact, the National Cancer Institute’s funding increased $264 million. President Obama also emphasized the need for collaboration in curing cancer.

Most of the media coverage has been positive; however, a few outlets note that curing cancer is “unrealistic” and is likely to take decades—if ever. These critics have a point, since we know that “cancer” is not one disease but comprises a diverse group of diseases characterized by uncontrolled growth triggered by varying mechanisms. Cancer treatment is now tailored to the individual, which adds to the challenge of “curing cancer.” President Obama’s message is one of hope for the future, and as he noted, “For the loved ones we’ve all lost, for the families that we can still save, let’s make America the country that cures cancer once and for all.”