Advocates: Fighting cancer should be 'national priority'

In a statement on the group's behalf, ACS CAN president Christopher W. Hansen said that defeating cancer should be a "national priority."

"There are more than 13 million cancer survivors in America today, thanks to past investment in research," Hansen said. "But 1,500 people in America still die every day from this disease."

A recent study from advocates at ResearchAmerica found that the automatic federal spending cuts set to take effect in January will cut budgets at federal health agencies by $3.6 billion.

At the National Institutes of Health, specifically, the 7.8 percent cut would be equal to the total amount spent researching hundreds of diseases in 2011, according to the report.