Gov. Walker proposes money for cancer center

GREEN BAY — Cancer research in Wisconsin could soon see a boost in funding from the state.

Governor Walker made the announcement in Green Bay Thursday as part of his budget proposal.

"I had breast cancer in 2005," said Judy Porter of Sturgeon Bay.

At that time, Porter became part of a clinical trial at St. Vincent Hospital's Regional Cancer Center.

"Because it helps to provide research for gaining new knowledge as to how to treat cancer," Porter said.

As part of the Wisconsin Oncology Network, St. Vincent has access to the UW Carbone Cancer Center's innovative clinical trials.

"We're thrilled to make this announcement," said Gov. Scott Walker.

Thursday, Governor Walker visited St. Vincent Hospital to announce plans to expand cancer research in the state.

"As part of our budget, we're including $3.75 million as part of a match to leverage money not only through the public sector, but to leverage money from the private sector," Walker said.

The funding would be used to make the state of the art imaging technology developed by the Carbone Center available to other hospitals in the network.

"To expand the technology that's already available and expand the cutting edge research that's going to help us find more cures and more ways of providing great cancer care," said Walker.

The expansion of the Wisconsin Oncology Network of Imaging Excellence means the St. Vincent Cancer Center will soon be eligible to participate in innovative new studies to advance cancer research.

For now it's just a proposal, but oncologists say the expansion would help diagnose and assess cancer more accurately, and determine effective and personalized cancer treatments.

"It's something that we as clinicians rely on quite a bit to have these imaging procedures and when people have these, it helps us diagnose them, possibly earlier or tells us that we need to switch therapies," said Dr. Jules Blank with Green Bay Oncology.

Governor Walker says the time is now to make this investment.

"More than one person every hour dies from cancer in the state of Wisconsin," said Walker.

But until he unveils his budget plan and the Legislature approves it, this isn't a done deal.

Click here to take a look at Walker's other budget proposals

Democratic State Senator, Dave Hansen says the proposed funding is a positive step forward.

However, he says health care took a hit this week when Governor Walker refused millions of federal dollars to expand Medicaid.

"I'm happy to see the $3.75 million coming for cancer research because it's so important...but it is sad that the university's been cut, the tech schools have been cut, and now he turned his back on money that would have made a lot of difference for a lot of people in our state," Hansen told FOX 11 by phone.

The governor's office says the funding can only happen, if the Department of Administration approves a plan for a fundraising match.

Walker will unveil his full budget next Wednesday.

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Wisconsin (change)

According to the 2010 U.S. Census, Wisconsin’s population totaled 5,686,986, a 6.0% increase over the 2000 U.S. Census count of 5,363,715. (Source: Wisconsin Blue Book)
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Governor: Scott Walker
Lieutenant Governor: Rebecca Kleefisch
Attorney General: J.B. Van Hollen

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