In a Time When Early Cancer Detection is Needed, the House Passes a Bill That Does Not Prioritize Lifesaving Programs
We don’t have to tell you how the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the world; every one of you felt this in a deeply personal way.
ACS CAN Ohio Government Relations Director, Bryan Hannon offers opposition testimony to Ohio House Bill 248.
ACS CAN represents millions of patients and cancer survivors, and their families nationwide, including the 72,000 Ohioans who will be diagnosed with cancer this year. Many cancer patients and their families have been hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic which has placed cancer patients at substantial risk for severe illness. Cancer treatments – from chemotherapy to immunotherapy to bone marrow transplants – often weaken a patient’s immune system, making cancer patients especially vulnerable to communicable illnesses like COVID-19. A survey of cancer patients and survivors last summer found that two-thirds of patients, and many caregivers, were worried about protecting their health from COVID-19. Those worries, combined with disruptions in health care services, have led many cancer patients to delay or forego treatment.
Fortunately, the availability of a COVID-19 vaccine will mean many cancer patients can be protected from the virus and resume their normal treatments safely. But we don’t yet know how effective vaccines may be in people being treated for cancer. It is possible that cancer patients – or others with weakened immune systems – may not be fully protected even if they are vaccinated. This makes it even more critical that people who encounter cancer patients are fully vaccinated.
Unfortunately, the sweeping provisions in HB 248 would slow, perhaps even prevent, the protection of cancer patients, even where it is needed most – in their doctor’s office, the clinic or a hospital.