This article looks into where the National Cancer Institute (N.C.I.) spent its 2006 budget of 6 billion dollars. The journalist exposes some interesting spending anomalies. She uses the N.C.I.’s data to point out that lung cancer is the most prevalent type of cancer to cause death, but the N.C.I. does not fund lung cancer proportional to the number of deaths it causes. She contrasts this finding with another extreme. She shows that breast cancer has a fairly high survival rate, and states that it is the best funded cancer per death. The opinion part of the article suggests that the N.C.I. budget may need to be restructured to make the funding across the leading cancers more proportional to their death rate
This article in BMC Public Health by Carter and Nguyen validates the results found in the article above. The authors found an inequitable distribution of research funding for different types of cancer based on their relative societal burden. The authors described these burdens as “Years of Life Lost”, “Disability-Adjusted Life-Years”, loss of tax revenue or medical expenses. Using data from governmental databases and the NCI, they found discrepancies between research funding relative to the burden. Some cancers, like breast and prostate cancer were unusually overfunded in regards to their burden. Others types, like bladder, liver, and pancreatic cancers were underfunded. They concluded that research funding should be reallocated based on the relative societal burdens of each type of cancer. This article helps give credence to the claims made by Parker-Pope that funding is indeed mismatched.
This topic is applied as it helps researchers and readers target areas where funding needs to be reallocated.
1. Topic: I am researching the discrepancies between cancer research funding and the relative societal burden for different types of cancer.
2. Question: because I want to find out if funding is equitable for different types based on their relative burden.
3. Practical Significance: so that the data can be used to reallocate funding and make it more relatively equitable.