Texans generally don’t turn out to vote all that well for elections in odd-numbered years. In fact, less than 6% of registered voters made it to the polls in 2017. In Texas those elections are usually constitutional amendment referendums.
But this year, a measure to extend Texas’ place as a leader in the fight against cancer is on the ballot, and you should encourage your patients to get out and vote.
“Please mark your calendar for Nov. 5 to vote AGAINST cancer and FOR saving Texans’ lives. Physicians of the Texas Medical Association urge everyone to VOTE FOR Proposition 6 on the November Texas ballot to continue to fund the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT),” TMA President David C. Fleeger, MD, said. “CPRIT already has saved countless Texans’ lives, and it both saves and makes Texas millions of dollars every year.”
To help spread the message about Proposition 6 and to encourage your patients to vote for it, TMA has created a push card that you can place in your waiting room. Order a stack of up to 250 of them today by emailing Paige Abney at TMA, using the subject line “Prop 6 Push Cards.”
The flyers are also available to post on your Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter pages.
The Texas Legislature and Texas voters launched CPRIT in 2007 with $3 billion in funding. Proposition 6 would extend funding by another $3 billion and keep the agency alive for an estimated 10 additional years.
To date, the agency has awarded about $2.3 billion to support cancer research and prevention through research at Texas institutions; product development research to develop new drugs, devices, and diagnostics; and prevention efforts such as screening programs.
"It's an incredibly important thing to all of us," State Rep. John Zerwas, MD (R-Richmond), told physicians at the 2019 Texas Medical Association Fall Conference on Saturday. "I think it puts Texas in a place that no other state can claim in terms of cancer research and actually curing some of these diseases that are within reach for us."
TMA supports the effort to keep CPRIT alive after its current funding runs out in 2022.
According to CPRIT, the agency has made 1,380 awards totaling about $2.3 billion to support cancer research and prevention efforts on three fronts:
- 72% has gone to accelerating research at Texas institutions. This includes the recruitment of 175 top cancer researchers and their labs, the best-known being James Allison, PhD, who won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2018.
- 18% has gone to product development research at early stage and growing life science companies in Texas to develop new drugs, devices, and diagnostics for fighting cancer. To date, CPRIT has provided 40 grants to 34 companies, including 12 companies that have relocated to Texas.
- By statute, at least 10% goes to prevention efforts, such as screening programs that have detected more than 3,600 cancers and 16,200 cancer precursors, giving these individuals a chance in their personal battles against these diseases.
Texans will vote on 10 proposed amendments to the state constitution on Nov. 5, including Proposition 6. The proposition reads: “The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to increase by $3 billion the maximum bond amount authorized for the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas."
Texans can check boxes either for or against the measure.
"If you don't get out to vote for any other reason this November let this be the reason," said Dr. Zerwas.
Look for more information about Proposition 6 and the work CPRIT has done in the October edition of Texas Medicine magazine.