We have the opportunity to end deaths from cervical cancer. Through increasing access to preventive vaccinations and supporting diagnostic screening and testing which improve opportunities for the early detection and treatment of the disease, we can eliminate a cancer.
World Cancer Day 2019: My Personal Commitment to Fight Cancer
Today, advocates around the world unite for World Cancer Day. Organized each year by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC), World Cancer Day raises awareness around global efforts to reduce the cancer burden and presses government leaders to take definitive action against the disease. This year’s theme, “I Am and I Will,” calls on everyone – global leaders, lawmakers, medical professionals, patient advocates, caregivers – to make a personal commitment to the fight against cancer. The campaign’s call-to-action “represents the power of individual action taken now to impact the future.”
I take that call-to-action to heart on my first day as the president of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN). I’m both eager and humbled to spend World Cancer Day stepping into my new role at the helm of the nation’s leading volunteer cancer advocacy organization. It’s been 11 years since I first joined the fight against cancer at ACS CAN. In those years, I’ve witnessed the critical role that public policy change plays in reducing the burden of cancer in communities nationwide. Over my tenure at ACS CAN, I’ve been endlessly impressed as our exceptional staff and volunteers effectively execute our advocacy agenda so we can have the greatest impact possible against this disease and best serve as the voice for cancer patients, survivors and those at risk of the disease. I’m so incredibly honored to have the opportunity to lead this organization toward our mission to end death and suffering from cancer through public health policy change.
I join the rest of my ACS CAN team in renewing our personal commitment to fighting cancer in recognition of World Cancer Day. It’s true that individual action has wide-reaching, significant impact; the success of ACS CAN is largely due to the staff and volunteers that dedicate their time and skills to mission, embodying the “I Am and I Will” theme every day they advocate on behalf of those affected by cancer. Our state teams are already hard at work on their commitment, meeting with lawmakers to support cancer-fighting policies at the state and local levels during Days at the Capitol. Our federal teams are gearing up to advance bills that will improve the quality of life of cancer patients, survivors and their loved ones and reduce unexpected out-of-pocket costs for preventive screenings, all the while continuing to protect access to quality, affordable health care for patients with pre-existing conditions. Each of these efforts relies upon the determination and individual action of our cancer advocates.
World Cancer Day also urges us to acknowledge that this fight needs to extend beyond our local communities to address the global burden of cancer. ACS CAN has committed to make our campaign to end death from cervical cancer a national priority. Our advocates will educate federal policymakers about the proven, cost-effective interventions that can eliminate cervical cancer from our planet and ask for support in increasing access to preventive vaccinations and diagnostic screenings worldwide. Across the nation and around the world, we’re committing to fight this disease at all levels of government.
I’ll continue to voice my thoughts as ACS CAN president here on the Cancer CANdor Blog, and on Twitter at @LLacasseACSCAN. I hope you’ll follow along – and if you haven’t already, join us – as we work toward our mission, with the goal that by the next World Cancer Day, less people will have heard the words, “you have cancer.”