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Rep. Cardin: We'll Beat Cancer By 2015

Rep. Ben Cardin has released a plan for fighting cancer that includes a prediction that the nation will beat cancer by 2015.

Cardin's comments came Monday at a meeting with cancer survivors and doctors where the U.S. Senate candidate discussed a health care agenda that includes more money for the National Institutes of Health. The agenda also includes support for campaigns to make Americans more aware of the need for screenings to detect cancer in the early stages.

Health care is a major part of Cardin's campaign platform in the race for the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Paul Sarbanes, who is retiring.

"We are going to lick cancer by 2015," Cardin said at a campaign stop at the HopeWell Cancer Support Center in Baltimore County.

While it sounds like a bold campaign promise, the National Cancer Institute has set a goal of "eliminating the suffering and death due to cancer" by 2015.

Cardin's campaign event coincided with the release of an Internet campaign commercial in which Dr. Edwin Adelson discusses how early detection helped him survive cancer.

"Thanks to Ben Cardin, others can have their chance," Adelson says in the ad. "He's literally a lifesaver."

The program outlined by Cardin on Monday also includes proposals to encourage participation in clinical trials, study racial disparities in health care and increase access to health care for minorities.

Other Democratic Senate candidates also have offered plans to improve health care.

Josh Rales, a Montgomery County businessman, released a plan to reduce the number of people without insurance, improve quality of health care through better use of information technology and reduce prescription drug costs by allowing Medicare to negotiate better drug prices and expedite availability of generic drugs by increasing funding for the Office of Generic Drugs.

Kweisi Mfume has promised to fight for more funding for stem cell research and supports universal health care, said Steve Marinoff, a spokesman for the former congressman and former head of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

Cardin is also an advocate of universal health care and promised Monday to work to restore Republican cuts in funding for the National Institutes of Health.

Zach Messitte, a political scientist at St. Mary's College of Maryland, said Cardin's comments about curing cancer are not unrealistic.

"I had a tumor on my tonsils that spread to my lymph nodes" two years ago, Messitte said. "Six months later I was teaching. It's not a crazy thing to be saying that certain types of cancer could be cured by 2015."

Messitte said voters should expect Democrats to focus on health care because of Republican candidate Michael Steele's opposition to embryonic stem cell research. Steele supports research on adult stem cells and umbilical cord blood, but not research that requires destroying an embryo to secure stem cells for research purposes.

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