NCRA and NAACCR’s Effort to Strengthen VA Cancer Reporting Collaboration Signed into Law

As part of the FY 2024 Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill, on March 9th, President Biden signed into law a new collaboration to strengthen State Cancer Registries’ ability to include cancer data from Department of Veterans Affairs Health Facilities. This action will ensure veterans’ cancer cases are fully accounted for in national cancer surveillance. In turn, this will help identify cancer-related disparities among veterans, improve the understanding of the cancer-related needs of veterans, and increase opportunities for veterans with cancer to be included in clinical trials, cancer-related research, and analysis.

The United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is America’s most extensive integrated healthcare system, serving 9 million enrolled Veterans annually. This first-ever overarching partnership between the VA and State cancer registry agencies on the sharing of cancer data will contribute to a more accurate picture of cancer in the US and is a significant step forward for veterans and their families.

The National Cancer Registrars Association (NCRA) and the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries (NAACCR) commend House and Senate Appropriators for including a directive in the Committee Report on the Fiscal Year (FY) 2024 Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies appropriations bill to count veterans’ cancer comprehensively. The directive is a two-phase effort: first, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs must submit a plan to Congress detailing how the agency will implement this effort by June 8th, followed by a requirement to implement that plan by October 1st, 2024.

NCRA and NAACCR engaged with the sponsors of the original legislation to achieve this outcome, the Counting Veterans Cancer Act, in both the House and Senate, along with appropriators, to encourage action on this issue. Maria Teresa Ramirez, President of NCRA, and Wendy Aldinger, President of NAACCR, noted that this effort succeeded due to a bipartisan commitment to cancer statistics and the public health value they bring. “NCRA and NAACCR offer a sincere thank you to Senators Mark Kelly (D-AZ) and Thom Tillis (R NC), along with Representatives Jennifer Kiggans (R-VA) and Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick (D-FL), for their leadership on this critical issue. NCRA looks forward to continued work with the Counting Veterans Cancer Act sponsors to communicate priorities and provide oversight in developing this plan.”

You can read the full text of the Committee Report at the link below, with the directive to the VA for reporting to State cancer registries on pages 33 and 34.

Read the Committee Report

Advocating for Cancer Registrars

NCRA takes an active role in advocating on behalf of cancer registrars and registries. The role of cancer registrars and the cancer registry system is one of the most fundamental ways public health professionals, physicians, and researchers understand and address cancer.

Strategic Alliances & Advocacy Newsletter

Recognizing NCRA’s work with its strategic partners requires timely communications with members, NCRA has established this e-brief to highlight key updates and news from its work with industry partners.

The content covered will be from NCRA’s formal liaisons to partner organizations and Adam Ebbin, NCRA’s Public Policy and Strategy Consultant. NCRA may also include information from its federal partners at the CDC and NCI on occasion.

Current Strategic Alliances & Advocacy Newsletter

Past Strategic Alliances & Advocacy Newsletters

One Voice Against Cancer (OVAC)

One Voice Against Cancer (OVAC) is a collaboration of national non-profit organizations representing millions of Americans, delivering a unified message to Congress and the White House on the need for increased cancer-related appropriations. NCRA is an active member of OVAC, representing the role and importance of cancer registrars and registries.  

Walk on Capitol Hill: A Day of Advocacy 

Thursday, April 7, 2022

Thanks to the more than 40 NCRA members who participated in our April 7 'Walk on the Hill' by meeting with 67 congressional offices! Held in conjunction with our educational conference, the meetings provided members of congress and their staffs a chance to learn more about cancer registries and registrars. Both in-person and virtual meetings were essential in outlining our current priorities. 

Immediately following this DC area event, NCRA opened up the opportunity for the full membership to get engaged through our April 18-29 Advocacy Now campaign. This was a first for NCRA where we developed an easy process for our members to send specific letters to their members of Congress. For this event 419 NCRA members participated which resulted in nearly 1200 letters sent to Congress in support of NCRA’s funding and policy priorities!

Specifically, NCRA members discussed the need for adequate funding for a Cancer Surveillance Cloud Computing Platform as part of the need for an increased budget for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Division of Cancer Prevention and Control. as well as increased appropriations for the National Cancer Institute (NCI).  

We also promoted the forthcoming Counting Veterans' Cancer Act that will require complete reporting of cases treated at Veterans Administration medical facilities to central cancer registries. According to 2017 data from the CDC, an estimated 26,500 cancer cases among veterans were not reported to state cancer registries funded through the National Program of Cancer Registries. Federal law requires CDC and NCI to collect cancer data for all newly diagnosed cancer cases, but that cannot be achieved due to frequent lack of reporting by the Department of Veterans' Affairs facilities.