First Lady Casey DeSantis visited Nemours Specialty Care Clinic in Orlando on Friday morning, where she highlighted Florida’s cancer research initiatives, including a $100 million budget recommendation for cancer research by Governor Ron DeSantis. Casey DeSantis, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in late 2021, recently finished her final round of chemotherapy.
Since 2014, cancer has been the second leading cause of death in the state of Florida, behind only heart disease. In 2021, the American Cancer Society estimates there have been over 47,000 deaths attributed to cancer in Florida. Florida also has the second-highest cancer burden in the United States.
“I’m proud of Governor DeSantis’ proposed historic $100 million investment to fight cancer in Florida — this funding will enhance the quality and competitiveness of cancer treatment across the state,” said First Lady DeSantis. “Florida’s top-rated cancer institutions, such as Nemours Specialty Care Clinic, take a patient-centered, quality care approach, as demonstrated by Ms. Craver. She is well-deserving of today’s recognition for her more than twenty-five years of bringing joy to kids undergoing treatment.”
The proposed $100 million is to be used to forward cancer care and research at three cancer institutes in Florida — Moffitt Cancer Center, University of Miami Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, and University of Florida Health Cancer Center through the Florida Consortium of National Cancer Institute (NCI) Centers Program.
Over a span of the last 3 years, the group of research centers provided treatment to more than 67,000 newly diagnosed cancer patients, educated nearly 32,000 current and future clinicians and scientists on the latest advancements for cancer diagnosis and treatments, and shared research findings through 75 distinct collaborative publications. Florida also provides funding for additional initiatives that support pediatric cancer research, and grants that support cancer research at other institutes that are not NCI designated.
“Like so many Floridians, Governor and First Lady DeSantis have been personally impacted by cancer and have shown resilience in battling the disease,” said Agency for Health Care Administration Secretary Simone Marstiller. “The Governor’s proposed budget bolsters the state’s commitment to cancer research which will lead to new cures and better outcomes for Florida families. With the Governor’s goal as our polestar and building on his efforts, the Agency is working with the Florida Legislature to give Floridians enrolled in Medicaid greater access to comprehensive cancer treatment.”