The Peer Reviewed Cancer Research Program (PRCRP) was established in fiscal year 2009 (FY09) to support innovative and competitive research in cancers specifically designated by Congress as relevant to military service members and their families. Members of the military are exposed to hazardous environments due to the nature of their service and deployments and, thus, are at risk for the development of different types of cancers. The Veterans Health Administration acknowledged the toll of cancer on military service members and their families in its National Cancer Strategy in 2003 (VHA-Directive 2003-34). In 2007, there were 355,442 military beneficiaries diagnosed with cancer, for a prevalence of 4.1%, comprised of over 60 different cancer types (Crawford et al., Military Medicine 172 (2007) 1084-1088). Both a healthy force and healthy family support unit, free of serious illnesses, allows the service member to focus on his or her role as a service member and facilitates the overarching military mission. Funding studies on the detection, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of cancer benefits not only the service members and their families, but also the American public, ultimately leading to increased survival rates, improved quality of life, and decreased costs of medical care.
The PRCRP's focus in FY12 is on support of exceptionally talented, early-career researchers and clinicians who have the potential to significantly advance the field of cancer research and deliver breakthroughs in the prevention, detection, and treatment of cancer to better the lives of service members, their families, and the American public.