Published March 1984 — Download PDF of the original newspaper column
Byrd's-Eye View By U.S. Senator Robert C. Byrd Widening the Fight against Cancer The comprehensive cancer center is on the drawing board for West Virginia, and if that effort is successful, West Virginians will have a much-needed, state-of-the-art facility geared toward the detection, diagnosis, treatment, and research of various forms of cancer. The West Virginia Cancer Center, proposed by officials from West Virginia University, would be headquartered in Morgantown, with satellite or outreach that is sensitive to the needs of cancer patients in our state, and for the study, research, and treatment of the kinds of cancer problems most often found in West Virginia. The National Cancer Institute estimated that in 1983, nearly one-third of those West Virginians with terminal cancer might have been saved had they had earlier cancer diagnosis and treatment. Backers of the West Virginia Cancer Center have expressed a strong commitment to reaching those in isolated, rural areas of West Virginia to ensure that they receive proper and prompt cancer care, a crucial part of any comprehensive cancer program for our state. WVU officials are seeking $31 million for the new center, including $16 million from the federal government and another $15 million from private sources. As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I have already contacted the chairman of the Health Appropriations Subcommittee, Senator Weicker, to seek his support for the necessary federal funding. That funding would be spread over a four-year period: $4.5 million in fiscal 1985; $4.5 million in fiscal 1986; $3.45 million in fiscal 1987; and $3.64 million in fiscal 1988. With federal budget deficits of historic magnitude, obtaining the federal money for a West Virginia cancer center will not be a simple or easy task. West Virginia would gain from a cancer center treatment facility aimed specifically at solving West Virginia's cancer problems, however, and as a supporter of such a center I have pledged my efforts to working to help secure the federal funding needed to make the West Virginia Cancer Center a reality.