Today, National Brain Tumor Society (NBTS) Chief Executive Officer, David Arons, attended the White House ceremony for the signing of the Honoring Our PACT Act by President Joe Biden.
Ahead of the signing, Mr. Arons released the following statement on behalf of NBTS:
“National Brain Tumor Society supports enactment of the PACT Act and applauds the bipartisan effort in Congress to pass this important legislation and send it to the president’s desk.
The PACT Act includes several key provisions that will support veterans and their families who have been impacted by brain tumors during or following their service to our country.
According to recently released data from the Department of Veterans Affairs and National Institutes of Health, glioblastoma – the most common and aggressive type of malignant brain tumor – is the third most common cause of cancer-related death in the active-duty military population. Among post-9/11 veterans who deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere, glioblastoma occurs at a rate 26% higher than that found in the general population. The average age of onset in the active duty and veteran population is decades earlier than for the broader population. In fact, glioblastoma was the cause of the untimely passing of President Biden’s son, Beau, following his service in Iraq.
In addition to expanding access to appropriate and adequate healthcare services for these veterans affected by glioblastoma, brain tumors, and other illnesses, the Honoring our PACT Act will increase and enhance research to better understand potential connections between these cases and the field’s understanding of brain tumor epidemiology, causes, and risk factors. This is an area that can benefit greatly from additional funding and coordination from government agencies including the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Department of Defense (DoD), and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), to collect important data and lead to a reduction of brain tumor risk and an improvement of health care for military service members who are diagnosed with brain tumors.
For these reasons, NBTS has for years worked with Congress and the DoD to ensure brain tumors and pediatric brain cancer are topics eligible for funding via the Pentagon’s Congressional Directed Medical Research Program’s Peer-Reviewed Cancer Research Program. With this new legislation, the National Brain Tumor Society will continue to work with all levels of the federal government to advocate for implementation of policies that span the landscape from basic research, to epidemiology, to access to care for veterans impacted by brain tumors.”