Biden will vow to help defeat cancer at State of the Union afterJill Biden’s own health scare

President Joe Biden will use his second State of the Union address to call for reauthorization of he National Cancer Act and new funding for cancer research as part of his administration’s efforts to “end cancer as we know it”.

The President’s commitment to tackling cancer comes one month after his wife, Jill Biden, had two skin cancer lesions removed at Walter Reed National Military Medical Centre,

White House Cancer Moonshot Coordinator Danielle Carnival told reporters in a briefing on Tuesday that Mr Biden will devote a portion of his speech to highlighting the progress his administration has made in the fight against cancer, including “nearly 30 new federal programs, policies and resources from a first ever cancer cabinet, steps to increase cancer screenings, to innovative approaches to improve care for patients and those that support them, to standing up and funding Arpa-H, a new agency to drive breakthroughs in the fight against cancer and other diseases”.

“Tonight's speech will also highlight what we need to do to further accelerate progress — this includes bringing America's cancer research and care systems into the 21st century. To that end, the administration is urging Congress to reauthorize the National Cancer Act, which more than five decades ago set up the National Cancer Institute as we know it today,” she said.

“This would enable us to update our systems for today's fight against cancer and lock in the strong investment in cancer research that passed in 2016 as part of the broadly bipartisan 21st Century Cures Act, which otherwise expires this year”.

Ms Carnival said the steps Mr Biden will lay out Tuesday evening would “put modern in American innovation fully to work in the fight against cancer”.

She also said the president will unveil new initiatives to increase access to support for cancer patients, as well as their family members and loved ones.

“We know patient navigation services improve the experience for patients and their families as they go through their cancer journey, and they improve health outcomes. So the administration is going to take steps to ensure that patient navigation services are covered benefits going forward for as many people facing cancer as possible, because the value and importance of having someone who can walk you and your loved one through the many decisions that come with a cancer diagnosis can't be overstated,” she said.

The fight against cancer has long been a personal battle for the 46th president.

His eldest son, Joseph R Biden III — better known as Beau Biden — died in 2015 from glioblastoma multiforme, a form of brain cancer. Mr Biden has often suggested that his late son, who served as Delaware’s Attorney General and was a Army National Guard Judge Advocate who earned a Bronze Star during a yearlong deployment to Iraq, became ill as a result of exposure to burn pits while serving overseas.

The US government’s original “Cancer Moonshot” programme, a $1.8bn fund for cancer research, was named for Beau Biden as part of the 2016 21st Century Cures Act. Mr Biden, who launched the Cancer Moonshot initiative as vice president, rebooted the programme last year with the goal of reducing deaths from cancer by half over the next quarter-century.

First Lady Jill Biden also had a brush with the disease last month when doctors at Walter Reed National Military Medical Centre removed two skin cancer lesions from her body.

On 11 January, Physician to the President Dr Kevin O’Connor said the first lady underwent a “scheduled outpatient procedure, commonly known as Mohs surgery, to remove and examine a small lesion above her right eye”.

He said the procedure “confirmed” that the facial lesion removed was a basal cell carcinoma, a common form of skin cancer, and also noted that doctors removed a second lesion above her left eye that was noticed under the surgical lighting.

Dr O’Connor also said surgeons identified an “additional area of concern” on the “left side of the first lady’s chest” that appeared “consistent” with the same type of skin cancer, leading to that lesion also being “excised” with the same procedure used to remove the skin cancer above Dr Biden’s eye earlier that day.

White House Communications Director Kate Bedingfield said the new initiatives Mr Biden will announce will be part of a renewed focus on the “Unity Agenda” he laid out in his first State of the Union speech last year.

“As the President said last year... these are issues that affect all Americans in red states and blue states,” she said, adding that Americans “are counting on their elected officials no ,matter their party, to come together and do big things”.

“In his State of Union today, the President will announce a new set of policies to continue to make progress advancing his unity agenda and deliver results for families across the country,” she added.