Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States. In 2013, more than 580,000 people will die of cancer, and more than 1.66 million people are expected to be diagnosed. Each year, cancer costs the United States an estimated $201.5 billion, due to lost productivity and direct medical costs.
The good news is that at least half of all cancer deaths can be prevented simply by using the knowledge and tools that are already available to us today. Cancer risk can be reduced by avoiding tobacco, limiting alcohol use, limiting exposure to ultraviolet rays from the sun and tanning beds, eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, maintaining a healthy weight, being physically active, and utilizing evidence-based cancer screening tests.
Applying Proven Early Detection and Prevention Practices
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is a leader in nationwide efforts to ease the burden of cancer. The CDC works with national cancer organizations, state health agencies, and other key groups to develop, implement, and promote effective strategies for preventing and controlling cancer.
The CDC supports cancer screening, tobacco control and community based public health programs which are central to preventing death and suffering from cancer by encouraging early detection, enhancing quality of life for cancer survivors, improving access to quality care and treatment, and reducing health disparities.
Federal Funding Support is the Key to Winning the Fight Against Cancer
While we are experiencing breakthroughs, our continued success in the fight against cancer is directly tied to the federal investment in cancer prevention and control:
- The CDC’s National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program provides free breast and cervical screening tests to low income and uninsured women, and access to Medicaid treatment for those diagnosed with cancer. Since the program’s inception, over 10 million screening tests have been given to over 4 million women. However, flat funding leads to fewer women being served.
- Scientific evidence has shown that regular screening for colorectal cancer (CRC) is a cost-effective way to prevent colorectal cancer incidence and mortality. However, screening rates for CRC are currently lower than for other cancer screening services. The CDC’s CRC outreach and screening initiative is helping to raise the number of Americans screened every year. However, due to inadequate funding, only half of the states currently receive federal support to help increase screening rates among the medically underserved.
- The Prevention and Public Health Fund was created to assist state and community efforts to prevent illness and promote health, so that all Americans can lead longer, more productive lives. This fund will save thousands of lives through stepped up tobacco control, better diet and physical activity and access to early detection and treatment.