Lois Frankel

From the office of:

Lois Frankel

Sending Office: Honorable Lois Frankel
Sent By:


Request for Signature(s)

FY 2019 Appropriations Request

Dear Colleague:

This year, an estimated 26,000 Americans will receive the devastating news that they have stomach cancer.  Tragically, nearly 11,000 individuals will die from the disease.  The unfortunate reality is that stomach cancer patients face one of the lowest survival
rates and have very few treatment options. To give stomach cancer patients a more reasonable chance at long-term survival, we must invest in much-needed stomach cancer research.  We ask that you join us in requesting that stomach cancer remain
eligible for Department of Defense (DoD) Peer Reviewed Cancer Research Program (PRCRP) funding.

Data analyzed from the North American Association of Central Cancer Tumor Registries show that the incidence of certain types of stomach cancer is increasing in Americans under the age of 50, a demographic that includes our active duty military officers
and enlisted personnel.  The Department of Veterans Affairs has recognized that stomach cancer can be a service-related disease caused by exposure to hazardous ionizing radiation, as well as to the bacteria H. pylori while serving abroad.  With few warning
signs, stomach cancer often goes undetected until its fourth untreatable stage, substantially decreasing the already poor prospects for survival. At this stage, the five-year survival rate is no more than five percent.

Through DoD appropriations, Congress can give stomach cancer research the chance to compete for federal funding on equal footing with other deadly diseases.  The PRCRP funds research into several cancer types, including liver, skin, pancreatic and stomach
cancers. Keeping stomach cancer on the list of eligible diseases has the potential to make an enormous difference in understanding this under-researched cancer, including its array of risk factors and causes.

Please join us in sending a letter to Chairwoman Granger and Ranking Member Visclosky of the Defense Appropriation Subcommittee requesting that
report language accompanying the FY 2019 DoD spending bill include stomach cancer as eligible for PRCRP research funding.  For more information or to sign the letter, please contact Katherine Lee from Rep. Frankel’s staff at or 5-9890, or Henry Yaniz from Rep. Ros-Lehtinen’s staff at or 5-3931.


Lois Frankel                                                                Ileana Ros-Lehtinen
Member of Congress                                                  Member of Congress

The Honorable Kay Granger                                      The Honorable Pete Visclosky
Chairwoman                                                                Ranking Member
Defense Appropriations Subcommittee                      Defense Appropriations Subcommittee
U.S. House of Representatives                                   U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C.  20515                                           Washington, D.C.  20515

Dear Chairwoman Granger and Ranking Member Visclosky:

As you consider the Fiscal Year 2019 Department of Defense (DoD) Appropriations bill, we respectfully request that stomach cancer research funding remain eligible under the Peer Reviewed Cancer Research Program (PRCRP). Continued funding for the PRCRP offers
an important opportunity to study diseases like stomach cancer that are not well understood, have few treatment options, and for which military service confers a higher risk.

It is expected this year that roughly 26,000 Americans will learn they have stomach cancer, and nearly 11,000 will die from the disease.  The overall five-year relative survival rate of people with stomach cancer in the United States is 31 percent according
to the American Cancer Society.  At Stage IV, the five-year survival rate is merely five percent.  The initial diagnosis of stomach cancer often is delayed because up to 80 percent of patients are asymptomatic during the early stages of the disease.[1]
At present, there are no established screening tests for stomach cancer, and there are very few treatment options to offer those diagnosed, particularly at late stage.

The Department of Veterans Affairs considers stomach cancer to be a service-connected malignancy for service members who experienced hazardous exposure to ionizing radiation.[2] Additionally,
studies suggest that the risk of H. pyloriinfection increases among military personnel during long-term deployment.[3]  This is significant
because according to the National Cancer Institute, infection with H. pylori is the primary identified cause of stomach cancer.[4] The
risk of H. pylori, and consequently the risk of stomach cancer, in service members who serve abroad is complicated by increasing resistance to the most widely recommended anti-H. pylori antimicrobial regimens.  A recent study found that H.
strains isolated from veteran patients in Houston were often resistant to commonly prescribed antibiotics.[5]

Stomach cancer was first included in the PRCRP for FY 2015, and since then the PRCRP has invested $13.5 million in 19 stomach cancer research projects. Studies funded by the PRCRP are addressing critical research gaps and unresolved questions, including
how to characterize H. pylori strains, detect biomarkers of stomach cancer, and improve early detection of the disease.

Continued funding for stomach cancer research through the PRCRP has the potential to make an enormous difference in understanding this under-researched cancer, including the array of risk factors and causal mechanisms, such as military service, that contribute
to stomach cancer and the disturbing upward trend in its incidence among young adults.[6]

We respectfully ask your support for maintaining stomach cancer as eligible for research funding through the PRCRP, and we ask that you consider how a greater investment in stomach cancer research could be achieved. Stomach cancer research funding has the potential
to benefit military service members and their families and to vastly improve the state of stomach cancer research in this country for all who are or who will be diagnosed with this disease.



[1] Layke JC1, Lopez PP. Gastric cancer: diagnosis and treatment options.Am Fam Physician. 2004 Mar 1;69(5):1133-40.

[2] National Cancer Strategy, Department of Veterans Affairs, Veterans Health Administration, VHA Directive 2003-34. June 20, 2003.

[3]Taylor, DN et al. Second International Workshop on Helicobacter pylori Infections in the Developing World: Helicobacter pylori Infection in
Desert Storm Troops. Clin Infect Dis. (1997) 25 (5): 979-982 doi:10.1086/516074

[4] Helicobacter pylori and Cancer. National Cancer Institute.
. Accessed online Dec. 23, 2015.

[5] Seiji S. Antibiotic Resistance of Helicobacter pylori Among Male United States Veterans. Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Volume
13, Issue 9, September 2015, Pages 1616-1624, ISSN 1542-3565

[6] Anderson W, Camargo M, Fraumeni J Jr, et al, Age-Specific Trends in Incidence of Noncardia Gastric Cancer in US Adults. JAMA 2010; 303(17):1723-1728.

Related Legislative Issues
Selected legislative information:Appropriations, Armed Services, HealthCare, Veterans
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