Tallahassee, FL – As part of the Cancer Votes program, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) is urging voters to learn where candidates stand on laws and policies that help the fight against and prevention of cancer.
As a leading cause of death in the United Sates today, ACS CAN is encouraging the public to learn about cancer-related issues and to make sure that they are a national priority this election season.
To help spread the word, ACS CAN volunteers will join with cancer survivors in communities throughout the state on Cancer Votes Day, Tuesday, October 9 to provide information and highlight the importance of these issues as Election Day approaches.
“As a cancer survivor, I have seen first-hand how important the decisions of elected officials can be to people with cancer and our families,” said ACS CAN Volunteer Steve Rogers. “That is why I am asking everyone to learn where the candidates stand on public policy issues that will help prevent and defeat cancer. And no matter who wins in the upcoming elections, our volunteers pledge to work with them to support laws and policies that help people fight cancer.”
With more than 1.6 million people diagnosed with cancer and more than 570,000 deaths from the disease projected in the U.S. this year, cancer is an issue that touches everyone. In 2012 in Florida, an estimated 117,500 people will be diagnosed with cancer and nearly 42,100 people will die from the disease. Voters should educate themselves on where candidates stand on cancer issues and how they plan to make cancer a national priority.
ACS CAN, the nonpartisan advocacy affiliate of the American Cancer Society, is asking candidates to publically state their positions oncancer research funding, access to affordable health care, protecting seniors with cancer, helping lower and middle income people fight cancer and cancerprevention.
In addition, ACS CAN provided its own positions on the issues:
· Cancer Research Funding: Over the past few years, we have seen life-altering breakthroughs in cancer research and the development of new treatments for some of the most challenging cancers made possible as a result of federal funding. Any cuts in funding for ongoing cancer research would slow down and possibly reverse this progress, causinglasting harm to cancer patients and their families. Accordingly, a sustained commitment to cancer research is essential to developing new and more effective tools for preventing and treating cancer.
· Access to Affordable Health Care: All Americans need access to adequate and affordable health insurance coverage. But many Americans simply cannot buy coverage in the individual market because insurance companies will not sell to them. Cancer survivors are often turned away or priced out of the market because of their pre-existing condition. If fully implemented, the patient reforms enacted in 2010 will change that by guaranteeing adequate and affordable health insurance coverage for all Americans without regard to their health status, and by lifting arbitrary limits on coverage. These reforms will lead to a healthier nation, and we cannot go back to a time when so many people were forced into bankruptcy bytheir illness, or denied the care they needed.
· Protecting Seniors with Cancer: For more than fifty years, Medicare has promised that if people pay into the system their entire working lives, it will be there for them in their golden years. That promise has resulted in the improved health and well-being of tens of millions of America’s seniors, including many with cancer. Prior to the enactment of Medicare, fewer than half of the elderly had hospital insurance and bankruptcy often accompanied chronic illness. Any changes to Medicare must ensure thatAmerica’s seniors, especially those with chronic diseases like cancer, continue to have the guaranteed, affordable care they paid for as working citizens.
· Helping Lower and Middle Income Americans Fight Cancer: Medicaid is a lifeline for cancer patients with no other access to affordable medical care. This includes people who lost their coverage because they were too sick to work and those who lost their entire savings because of high treatment costs. Medicaid also offers coverage for low-income, uninsured and underinsured women who have been diagnosed with breast or cervical cancer, and for children and seniors diagnosed with cancer. In short, Americans who receive their care through Medicaid have no other options, and we should not place the burden of funding cuts on their backs.
· Cancer Prevention: Prevention is the key to reducing death and suffering from cancer. Congress enacted the Prevention and Public Health Fund to support community based interventions all over the country to prevent disease before it occurs rather than just treating people when they get sick. Today community public health projects supported by the Prevention Fund are helping to control the obesity epidemic, reduce tobacco use, increase mammograms and fight health disparities that disproportionately impact low-income Americans. Cutting or diverting funding away from disease prevention is penny-wise and pound-foolish.
“While we have made great progress in the fight against cancer, each day in America, 1,500 people a day still loose their battle with the disease. Fighting cancer should be a national priority,” said ACS CAN Florida Division Vice President of Advocacy and Public Policy Paul Hull. “Lawmakers have the power to make decisions that directly impact the lives of cancer patients and their families, which is why it is important that the public understands where candidates stand on issues critical to fighting and preventing the disease.”
ACS CAN is strictly non-partisan and does not endorse, oppose, or contribute to any candidate or political party. For more information, visit www.cancervotes.org.
ACS CAN, the nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate of the American Cancer Society, supports evidence-based policy and legislative solutions designed to eliminate cancer as a major health problem. ACS CAN works to encourage elected officials and candidates to make cancer a top national priority. ACS CAN gives ordinary people extraordinary power tofight cancer with the training and tools they need to make their voices heard. For more information, visit www.acscan.org.