On December 23, 1971 in the East Room of the White House, describing it as a Christmas gift to the American people, President Richard Nixon signed the National Cancer Act of 1971.

“We are here today for the purpose of signing the Cancer Act of 1971,” President Nixon said during his remarks before signing the act. “And I hope that in the years ahead, that we may look back on this day and this action as being the most significant action taken during this administration,” he added.

To honor and celebrate the milestone 50th anniversary of the signing of the National Cancer Act, the Richard Nixon Foundation has gathered Nobel Prize laureates and America’s top cancer doctors for the inaugural Nixon National Cancer Conference.

The conference opened at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum in Yorba Linda, California on December 1, and included an in-depth and fascinating look back at the history of the National Cancer Act as well as the official opening of a new special exhibit at the Nixon Library entitled, “A Commitment to Hope: Richard Nixon and the National Cancer Act.”