September 23, 2010 18:40 ET

Lance Armstrong Applauds Efforts to Ensure Affordable Health Care for Children

Armstrong Joined by American Cancer Society CEO John Seffrin at Special Visit to Children's National Medical Center

WASHINGTON, DC--(Marketwire - September 23, 2010) -  Today, Lance Armstrong, LIVESTRONG(R) founder and chairman, cancer survivor and champion cyclist, made a surprise visit to the pediatric oncology unit at Children's National Medical Center. He was joined by John R. Seffrin, PhD, chief executive officer of the American Cancer Society, to meet with hospital administrators, doctors and young patients and their families.

Today marks the six month anniversary of the Affordable Care Act. Starting today, several critical provisions of the law begin to take effect. Under the new law, healthcare plan providers cannot discriminate against children with pre-existing conditions. More than nine million children in the United States are currently living without health insurance. Up to 72,000 uninsured children with pre-existing conditions could gain coverage as a result of the new reform.

"Parents already feel the weight of the world on their shoulders when a child is diagnosed with cancer," said Armstrong. "Insurance and health costs shouldn't serve as a barrier to receiving quality, timely treatment. I'm hopeful that this reform will save lives and improve the quality of life for the more than 270,000 childhood cancer survivors currently living in the United States."

"The Affordable Care Act is providing critical protections that are expanding access to lifesaving health care to children and adults with cancer or at risk of cancer," said Seffrin. "Important provisions taking effect today prohibit health plans from denying coverage to children up to age 19 with pre-existing conditions such as cancer, and enable dependent children to remain on their parent's insurance policy up to age 26."

"With advances and breakthroughs in therapy, approximately 75% of children with cancer are cured of their disease. Nevertheless, cancer remains the leading cause of non-accidental death in children in the United States and many survivors suffer from chronic conditions that result from their treatment. Children's National Medical Center is proud to be a leader in the search for novel treatments that will increase cure rates while decreasing adverse effects," said Jeffrey S. Dome, MD, PhD; Chief, Division of Oncology; Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders; Children's National Medical Center.

Armstrong's visit also falls during National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, a time to increase awareness and encourage support for the children and families affected by the disease. Cancer is currently the leading cause of death by disease among U.S. children between infancy and age 15, and it is estimated that 10,730 new cases of pediatric cancer were diagnosed in children 0-14 years of age in 2009. Two-thirds of childhood cancer survivors face at least one chronic health condition later in life and one quarter of survivors face a late effect from treatment that is severe or life threatening.

LIVESTRONG, the organization Armstrong established to support fellow cancer survivors and their families, offers a multitude of resources to help pediatric cancer survivors and their families manage the long-term effects of childhood cancers. The organization recently helped establish the LIVESTRONG Childhood Cancer Survivorship Center at Dell Children's Medical Center in Austin, Texas. The Center aims to improve the health and well-being of childhood cancer survivors by promoting adherence to a schedule of follow-up appointments; providing referrals to specialists; offering psychosocial support groups; transitioning patients to adult care when they are ready; and educating patients, parents and healthcare professionals about the long-term effects of cancer treatment.

LIVESTRONG SurvivorCare also offers specialized resources that focus on the needs of cancer survivors, including children. The free resource, available in English and Spanish, provides survivors and their families with emotional support; individual counseling; financial and legal advice, including finding assistance for the uninsured or underinsured; and matching to clinical trials.

Founded in 1997 by cancer survivor and champion cyclist Lance Armstrong and based in Austin, Texas, LIVESTRONG fights for the 28 million people around the world living with cancer today. LIVESTRONG connects individuals to the support they need, leverages funding and resources to spur innovation and engages communities and leaders to drive social change. Known for the iconic yellow wristband, LIVESTRONG's mission is to inspire and empower anyone affected by cancer. For more information, visit

About Children's National Medical Center
Children's National Medical Center in Washington, DC, has been serving the nation's children since 1870. Home to Children's Research Institute and the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation, Children's National is consistently ranked among the top pediatric hospitals by U.S. News & World Report and the Leapfrog Group. With 283 beds, more than 1,330 nurses, 550 physicians, and seven regional outpatient centers, Children's National is the only exclusive provider of pediatric care in the Washington metropolitan area. Children's National has been recognized by the American Nurses Credentialing Center as a Magnet® designated hospital, the highest level of recognition for nursing excellence that a medical center can achieve. For more information, visit

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