Gov. Ron DeSantis, alongside his wife and recent cancer survivor Casey DeSantis, announced on Tuesday the awarding of $100 million to Florida’s leading cancer treatment and research facilities including the Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute, the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, and the Shands Cancer Hospital.
DeSantis stated that the $100 million allocation is an increase of 60 percent compared to last year’s funding. Florida has the second-highest cancer burden in the nation. Since 2014, cancer has been the second leading cause of death in Florida, after heart disease. In the three-year period from 2016 to 2018, the total number of cancer deaths was 132,614, according to the Florida Department of Health.
“This is a really historic day,” DeSantis said. “It’s a really, really big deal and we really have confidence in these institutions to be able to make good use of that money and do so in a way that will have a meaningful impact on the lives of the patients that they will be seeing.”
The Florida Cancer Data System reported that the top five most frequently diagnosed cancers in Florida in 2017 accounted for just over half of all cancer diagnoses (50.3%). The top five cancers were lung bronchus (17,138), breast (16,785), prostate (12,539), colorectal (9,908), and melanoma (6,798). In women, the top five cancers were breast, lung bronchus, colorectal, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and melanoma. In males, the top five cancers were prostate, lung bronchus, colorectal, melanoma, and bladder.
“I am incredibly proud to see this record funding secured for cancer patients, their families, and the facilities that serve them,” said First Lady DeSantis. “Early detection is a game-changer in the cancer fight. I encourage anyone reading this to be proactive about your health — it might just save your life.”
First Lady DeSantis was diagnosed with breast cancer in October and immediately underwent treatment before being cleared in March.
State Surgeon General Dr. Joseph Ladapo joined the press conference, offering praise of the funding, claiming that it will help advance Florida’s innovation in cancer treatment.
“As a physician, my patients with cancer were the most courageous, and showed optimism in the face of their difficult battle,” said Ladapo. “This funding is a wonderful thing. The research will identify places of discovery to make a change. These discoveries are going to be how we prevent and treat cancer around the world.”