Lance’s Op-Ed Piece


Hey folks! Please check out Lance’s op ed in the Austin American Statesman today.

Texas Voters Want to Know How the Candidates Plan to Make Cancer a National Priority
by Lance Armstrong, 2.21.08

To Sens. Clinton and Obama: From personal experience, I can certainly appreciate the drama of a close race. And I also appreciate the fact that our state is playing a deciding role in this election. As Texans, we like it that way.

So, welcome to Texas where you will participate today in a debate on the UT campus and on March 4th, you will watch Texans cast their primary ballots.

As you prepare for this next round of campaigning, I’m sure that you’re pondering this question: What do Texas voters care most about? Allow me to offer a humble opinion and some recent history that may prove helpful. (Senator McCain and Governor Huckabee, this free advice is yours for the taking as well.)

What Texans care most about are the lives of their loved ones and they understand that cancer touches every American family, just as it has touched yours and mine. And they’ve taken a bold, unprecedented step to support the war against this disease.

On November 6th, 2007, Texas voters recognized that the time had come to renew our national commitment to fighting cancer. We turned out overwhelmingly in an off-year election to support Proposition 15, an initiative that established the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas and made a $3 billion investment in this fight.

We lose 37,000 Texans and 560,000 Americans to cancer every year-tragic losses to a formidable foe that doesn’t care about party affiliation, income or age. And to draw a contrast with what the pundits keep focusing on in this campaign, whether you’re female or African-American.

But for years now, we have had to watch cancer funding head South or remain static at a time when 1.4 million Americans are diagnosed with the disease every year. To the people of this state, that was completely unacceptable. They saw apathy coming out of Washington when they expected to see action.

America first declared war on cancer more than three decades ago, when we were still pumping leaded gas and dialing on rotary telephones. We now have our very own 30 Years’ War with 12 million survivors to show for it.

But after more than 30 years, are we any closer to victory? Sadly, voters in this state had to conclude last fall that the answer is no. Victory won’t result from putting programs and funding on auto-pilot. Victory will be achieved by making cancer a national priority and by vigorously employing the weapons we know to be effective against this opponent.

We know what works in the fight against cancer: Screening and early detection save lives. The challenge: making them available to more Americans.

Breakthroughs in treatment are being made all the time. The challenge: getting those breakthroughs out of the labs and into the hospitals and clinics where they’ll help us.

Texans also know that in order to keep making those break-throughs, we need the brains, talent and dedication of our hard-working medical professionals. The challenge: we’re losing our medical talent to other countries.

And here’s the biggest challenge of them all: health care has become a right for some and a privilege for others. For the professional athlete in Texas, the stockbroker on Wall Street, the politician in Washington, there’s a health care system that grants the gift of hope in the darkest hours. But for too many others, there’s no access to that system, no early detection, no quality treatment.

Mind you, this is a fiscally conservative state and voters here aren’t in the habit of opening wide the coffers. But last November, Texas chose to become the global leader in this war so that we can share our achievements with this nation and the world. And we want a President who rejects the tired old strategy of divide and conquer and replaces it with a new strategy: Unite and conquer cancer.

Tonight and in the coming weeks, you have the opportunity to tell Texans exactly how you intend to support the health of this state and this nation, and how you will bring new leadership to the war against cancer. Good luck. Twelve million American voters and their families will be watching.

See Lance’s latest interview on CNN.


  1. Mike says:

    I hope the LAF advocacy team can get this out to EVERY candidate, at every state and national level. They need to know that we care, we are strong, and we will support those who will make fighting cancer a national priority!! I will share this post with everyone I know and ask them to contact their favorite candidate, their state and US members of Congress, etc.

  2. Bob Sega says:

    Yes and we really should know the views of our congressional representatives. They are the ones that write the spending bills and short shift the NCI and other programs for their porked up earmarks. Write, make an appointment with and put a lot of pressureon you Senators and Representatives. We are working uphill as the reality is if an older guy like me dies of cancer he no longer contributes to campaigns. Live unions , environmentalists and others do. Yes, I think some of them are that cold hearted and calculating. Nuff Said. Thank you.

  3. Brian Dowd says:

    Thanks for the Op-Ed Lance! As always you are blazing a trial for all of us cancer survivors to do more.

    I started watching the debate last night with high hopes that they would address cancer in some form. Unfortunately for me I had to get my two daughters to sleep and missed a lot of the debate, but I went on ( to read the transcript and I was shocked to see that the word cancer was not even mentioned. Go ahead and do a ?¢?Ǩ?ìFIND?¢?Ǩ¬ù on cancer. Nothing!

    This just gives us more fuel to make cancer a national priority. They may not think were serious today, but they will eventually understand. We are committed to making a difference.


  4. Mr. Armstrong,

    Thank for writing (getting published) all the thoughts, fears, frustrations, and hopes I have had with the candidates in the 2008 U.S. Presidential contests. It’s time to get these candidates ‘on-record’ with real and obtainable programs to battle cancer and help cancer survivors.

    They did not ‘step up’ last night, but the time is coming when ‘the finalist’ will have to answer to us. I will be listening closely when they do.

    Thank you again!

  5. Thank you for laying it out so directly and plainly, Lance — if only our political candidates would do the same.
    –With one in two men and one in three women likely to receive a diagnosis of cancer in their lifetimes, and with our aging population, the time is now to capitalize on all that has been done and take the next great leap forward.
    –Thanks for the words of encouragement and let’s all keep on pushing!

  6. Katie Williams says:

    Lance – You have articulated so well, the major concerns I have. I have had Thyroid Cancer, my husband has had Colon Cancer, twice, my mom died of breast cance, my husband’s mother died of uterine cancer, the list goes on and on. When my mom was being treated (thank God she had access to the best medical care money could buy) she said to me “what do people who have no insurance do?”, and I said “they die a painful death.” This is the very sad reality for many people in our country. I am 53 years old and if it were not for my husband’s medical insurance through his work we would not be able to afford health insurance. More and more companies are cutting back on what they spend on health care for their employees, and should you come down with a catastrophic illness such as cancer, you’ll wish the candidates had listened to Lance. WE must all contribute in any way we can to this cause; either monetarily or give of your time. This is a fight we must win.

  7. Sue Ewig says:

    Fighting cancer must also mean understanding why so many people get cancer and finding ways to prevent it. I hope the Cancer Prevention and Reseach Institute knows what it is up against. Everyone should read “The Secret History of the War on Cancer.”

  8. Kim Harlan says:

    I am a 3 time Cancer Survivor, in the past 7 yrs no less. Without the funding and research, I may not beat the next one.

    Thank you for extreme effort that you and other are putting into getting this recognized.

    We need all the help that we can get.

  9. serre elie says:

    I believe in the fight against cancer, thanks to sensibilise politicals to it really bad thing. Research and prevention needs all our supports.
    kill the crab, kill the cancer, i’m allways alive through my cancer, and it’s probably make real by people like you

  10. Melissa says:

    The fact that this was ignored makes me miss John Edwards in this presidential race!

  11. Kimberly Calkins says:

    In an age when not all insurance companies will pay for “preventative medicine” checkups (yearly exams, prostate exams)and we pay extra for cancer insurance, I am thankful that there is a voice out there making a difference!
    I pray that our government wakes up on the issue of cancer, insurance, and health care; and that all Americans vote wisely.
    Thanks LAF for fighting for the rights of cancer survivors and family members of survivors!

  12. Mariah says:

    I appreciate your efforts, to get politicians on board. My main concern, though, is that we are putting the wrong people “in charge” of our health. The responsibility needs to be on the individual to make the needed changes in their lives, to change those behaviors and beliefs which move us out of health and into dis-ease. Cancer is not the issue, it is a healthy immune system and doing what is important to support this. We already know what causes cancer, and we already know how to prevent and cure it… practices and mindset oriented to health. Let’s not get lost in funding programs which essentially are people playing with their toes and thinking it does some good for the world. If we really want to make a difference, we need to LIVESTRONG, not Live, well, sort of, but let me keep eating my unhealthy food and continue to take unhealthy prescriptions and please let me stay in toxic work/personal relationships.

  13. Ray says:

    It’s been said before, but it’s a race that we have to run, that can’t be lost at any cost.

    More of the issues involve $ and healthcare, instead of cancer.

    We must make it about “the cure”!

    Yes indeed, LIVESTRONG!

  14. Crystal from West Virginia says:

    I am behind you 100%. Obama is running a campaign commercial in Ohio that says his mother lost her battle to cancer and what she was worried about was medical bills while she was sick. It was based on medical costs not cancer. I had my mother live with cancer for 30 years. She was in remission for 10 years. When the cancer came back there was no new technology and they were no farther ahead then they were 30 years ago. She lost her battle 3 years ago to leukemia. Someone needs to address this seriously. My mother could still be here if there was more research being done.

  15. Barbara in Texas says:

    If any candidate WILL offer more money for research, Barack Obama WILL. I’m sure Lance WILL hear from Barack Obama when he has time to breathe from the campaign. Sometimes patience is so difficult, especially when it is our family’s lives that are at stake. Peace.

  16. Once again, our “7” Star General of the LIVESTRONG Army has demonstrated the vision and leadership about cancer that our presidential candidates must address. We have our marching orders, everyone. Let’s get to it!

  17. Mark in Ohio says:

    Do you really think the Dems care about anything but themseves? This is an important issue, but they are simply pandering for votes. The only one that understands, like me as a cancer survivor, is the candidate that has lived it… John McCain

  18. Rick Armstrong says:

    This is a national tragedy & a crisis. Perhaps if we spent less on war mongering, pharmaceutical lobbyists and sorry ass politicians there may be enough $$ to provide every American with the health care they deserve. Just take a look at the total dollars spent in Iraq in the past year is exponentially larger than ALL the dollars spent on cancer research of ALL types. This cannot be left to the politicos alone to solve. They are only humans tool.
    NO! IT IS UP TO EVERY AMERICAN EVERYWHERE TO MAKE THE CHANGES REQUIRED TO MAKE THIS A REALITY IN OUR LIFE TIME. Some of these changes are life style, but the real change has to come from the ideology of YOUR GOVERNMENT.

  19. Rebecca in PA says:

    I’m in the process of starting up my second treatment for cancer. The start of the comments posted were wonderful and inspiring. It does make me sad to see how the later comments go to the “Dems only care about themselves” and “the only one is John McCain”. Lance’s post clearly stated that this isn’t about the parties, but getting something done in Washington to help us cancer patients, and early detection, prevention and treatment.

  20. Rick Armstrong says:

    Quite frankly, I don’t believe this forum should be a politicking spot for ANY politician whether it’s McCain, Obama, Clinton, Paul or any one else unless it addresses the cancer issue directly. It is not up to them as they have already demonstrated their failure.
    IT IS UP TO US, AS AMERICANS AND NOT REPUBLICANTS, DEMOCRAPS OR ANY OTHER POLITICAL PARTY. This is not a political issue, it is a financial, moral and ethical issue that requires much more than empty rhetoric & promises. Try not to make it one.
    As long as politicians, lobbyists, pharmaceutical companies, doctors, and insurance companies are motivated only by money, it just ain’t gonna happen.
    How many jobs would be lost if they found a cure?
    This is only my opinion & it don’t mean squat to anyone but me.
    Have a Glorious Day, y’all.

  21. Julie Portland, Oregon says:

    After having read your opening argument I couldn’t believe the candidates still weren’t talking about this issue. Health Care for the masses is always an issue but why they don’t directly address Cancer????? Not many insurance companys want to hear you have or had cancer. So common sense said how do we prevent it. Does anyone know what the 5 day round of NEUPOGEN shots cost’s these days!!!!!!

    I appreciate that you have used your celebrity to help so many people. And to get others to talk about Cancer. I have seen an alarming amount of people dealing with cancer and feel a special connection with them and the issues concerning cancer having it myself. Without reading your book and finding your website I don’t feel I could have understood the journey I was about to embark on. Thanks on the heads up on how to keep the fight against cancer alive.

    I was diagnoised with Cancer 12/4/06. I have been through 3 remissions since then and the cancer keeps coming back. After over 12 rounds of Chemo BEP, VIP,a transplant and a month again the cancer returned. We need research. Granted my original diagnosis has been changed I have a new treatment plan and have had surgery GTD or Gestational Throphoblastic Disease is not so common. A 30.00 blood draw would have caught this at my follow-up appointment. I said the signs they sent me away????? Three and a half months later a shortness of breath and a inability to get a full breath sent me to the ER via Ambulence. $30.00 or??????

    We also need more reasons for our medical students to want to become Oncologists. Maybe like being a teacher in a low-income area and they pay student loans or subsidise wages. Maybe they (government) can do something similar for Medical Students. I hear there will be a shortage of Oncologists within 15 years.

    I am so glad to have a forum to talk to others touched by cancer. I feel that the numbers alone can get the candidates to listen to our voices and start talking.

    I LIVESTRONG everyday!

  22. Ang B says:

    I found this site by accident whilst reading about cycling/Lance Armstrong. I’m from the U.K and like the U.S there can never be sufficient money given to cancer research. I’m a firm believer in the ‘Put up or shut up’ philosophy, so good luck with your quest. Love and life. Ang

  23. Gary Ball says:

    A few years ago, I had a melanoma removed. After the surgery I was given a clean bill of health. On subsequent visits to a dermatologist, I have had a couple of non-cancerous spots removed, with no attendant problems. However, I can not purchase health insurance which will pay any amount toward cancer detection, prevention or treatment. While I understand this financial position from the insurance industry, I find it very disheartening,

  24. David Howard says:

    It’s not a about a “fight”, not a “war” or a “battle”…it’s about life, and taking care of each other.

    That’s what a Health-care system should act – one that supports health, and a balance between prevention and treatment. As someone who owns a grad degree in public health, but finds myself working in Pharma research vs. public health, I see first hand we don’t have a balanced system.

    So let’s tell those that vie for public position to balance the system for everyone’s health – b4 and after we get sick, which we all will eventually.

  25. Mary Ann Ginnard says:

    My husband was diagnosed with cancer Nov. 2003. He has prostate cancer not a rare disease for any man and yet since 2003 there is no approved new treatment. The three oldest(all in their 50’s) out of eight have porstate cancer. He went in Aug 2006 to Mexico for a procedure that is not approved in the states although the equipment and technology is transported to Mexico along with the american doctors. They have been doing this procedure 3to10 years in different parts of the world. Don’t you just love the code word EXPERIMENTAL by your insurance company meaning they won’t pay for a test even though the equipment is being used in a U.S. hospital. But our premiums keeep going up.

    Lance, in 2005 my husband rode with you in “Ride for the Roses”. It is a day he cherishes and will never forget. He rides everyday weather permitting. We all wear our LIVESTRONG bracelets. We thank you for that day and all that you do. God Bless You.

  26. Health care issues won’t be solved by elected officials at the state or federal level till the voters realize that there are simple decisions to be made. Do you want good health care? Did you know that it can be done better, for all, cheaper than what we, as a nation, are paying now? Do you, as voters, have what it takes to hang in there long enough to fight moneyed interests with lots of profits to loose?

    There are three approaches to medical care: prevention, cure and treatment. The best for the patient is prevention; not getting sick. The second best is to be cured; quickest possible complete recovery. The third best is extended treatment of a medical problem; when prevention and cure aren’t an option.

    The problem is that the most profitable approach to medicine is treatment. If one wants the most efficient and effective medical care you must go head-to-head with industries that have developed around, and profited greatly, from treatment exclusively.
    This is not a difficult decision to make, because study after study has determined that citizens of the USA spend the most for their health care and get the least return on that investment (when compared to the health care of any of the other first world, and many developing, countries).

    The answer is single payer health care. This is not to be confused with single provider medicine, because it is no such thing. This is not an answer that needs to come from state or federal legislatures, because it needs to come from voters fighting (determined to get to the best health care for their families) against persistent, well vested interests with serious profit margins to loose.

  27. Ben Byers says:

    I was diagnosed with Testicular Cancer at the age of 19. The growing trend of cancer affecting younger adults is flying under the radar. Every year at the Livestrong Challenge in Portland, Oregon, I try to get as many young men and women involved as I can. Whether it’s through word of mouth, or telling my story of survival to get friends and the public to listen, I cannot do it alone.

    The officials we elect to office should and ought to have the obligation to listen to the people they answer to, us. As a student in college, it is hard enough to try and persuade a youthful audience that they have the power make change, especially through the health care system. Democrat or Republican, party affiliations should never stand in the way of the health of a fellow human being.

    Lance, I remember meeting you, Big George Hincapie, Eddy Merckx and Bob Roll during dinner before the first Livestrong Challenge in Portland. Your commitment as an athlete, advocate, and pioneer in the fight against cancer, inspired me that night, and the following morning. I still have that feeling! I still have the fight! Most importantly, I have a voice! We all have a voice, and it’s our obligation to use it and raise awareness on a national level. If your inspiration can get people to ride,listen, donate, and demonstrate a compassion and a concern for the fragility of human life, it should and ought to do the same for our elected officials. Let’s make the candidates take a ride!

  28. Mary Ann says:

    Lance for President

  29. Ben Byers says:

    Check out “Colleges for Cancer” on facebook, and rally the youth of our nation to unite against cancer!

  30. Bettie says:

    I have been fighting ovarian cancer for 6 years. I have been taking some form og chemo with a few days remission in between I think I’ve had every known chemo on the market. I have just started another series. They are keeping me alive and I live my life to the fullest when I’m not down for a few days after chemo.
    I don’t linger on it as everything is being done. I don’t tell sad stories to my family and friends about whats going on on a regular basis. I let them see that life goes on as before after a couple down days.It makes them feel better and makes me proud that I can do that for them. My husband is the only one that knows what I go through on the bad days and he is an angel sent from heaven. I am so blessed to have the family that I do have including my daughter that lives a few hours away but is here the minute I need her. I refer to my self as MRS. Baldlocks as I am again in that fasion mode. I used to wear wigs but now I just throw a baseball hat on and it works for me.Treat the symtom as best you can and live your life as full as you can. You will not believe the difference it makes in your social life. Good luck to all my brothers and sisters out there. we are in this together. E mail me if you want to chat. Hugs Bettie

  31. Jody Palmer says:

    As A Cancer Survivor Myself, I Truely Believe That We Need To Make Cancer Treatment A Top Priority, On All Levels Of Congress,Senate House, & Right Up To The Presidential Level!

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