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Prevention and Early Detection

ACS CAN advocates for public policies that can prevent nearly half of all cancer deaths by ensuring access to recommended cancer screenings, protecting the public from skin cancer risk, reducing tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke and supporting people in increasing physical activity, eating a healthy diet, and managing their weight.

Prevention and Early Detection Resources:

Our latest survey finds that protecting no-cost screenings and preventive care and reducing the burden of medical debt are the most impotant priorities for cancer patients and survivors. This survey also explores the impacts of cancer on food and nutrition insecurity, with impacts felt across income groups and coverage levels.

Tobacco use has been found to be one of the primary drivers of cancer-related health disparities because its use disproportionately impacts people based on race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability status, mental health, income level, education level, and geographic location. Achieving health equity relies heavily on eliminating tobacco use. ACS CAN is pursuing fact-based tobacco control policies at the local, state and federal levels that aim to reduce disparities and improve health outcomes for everyone.

The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) believes everyone should have a fair and just opportunity to prevent, detect, treat, and survive cancer. No one should be disadvantaged in their fight against cancer because of income, race, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability status, or where they live. From preventive screening and early detection, through diagnosis and treatment, and into survivorship, there are several factors that influence cancer disparities among different populations across the cancer continuum.

Eliminating tobacco-related disparities requires that Medicaid enrollees have access to comprehensive cessation benefits without cost-sharing or other barriers to quit tobacco.

The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) advocates for policies at the federal, state, and local level aimed at addressing food and nutrition insecurity and reducing health disparities. Having consistent access to affordable nutritious food has a direct impact on a person’s health and can help prevent, manage, and treat chronic diseases like cancer.

The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) supports policies and funding that increase access to “Food is Medicine” (or food as medicine) initiatives and interventions intended to prevent, treat, or manage chronic diseases and often address food and nutrition insecurity.

The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) supports giving participants of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) financial incentives to purchase fruits and vegetables.

The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) supports public policies at the local, state, and federal level that make it easier for children and adults to eat a healthy diet and to be physically active, thereby reducing their long-term cancer risk.

Approximately 1 in 8 women (13%) will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer in her lifetime, and 1 in 39 women (3%) will die from breast cancer. In 2023, an estimated 297,790 women in the U.S. will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer, and 43,170 will die from the disease. Despite the fact that U.S. breast cancer death rates have been declining for several decades, not all people have benefited equally from the advances in prevention, early detection, and treatments that have helped achieve these lower rates.

Tobacco Control Resources:

ACS CAN advocates for everyone’s right to breathe smoke-free air so that no one is forced to choose between their health and a paycheck. ACS CAN urges state and local officials to pass and protect comprehensive smoke-free laws in all workplaces, including restaurants, bars and gaming facilities.

Research has repeatedly shown that there is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke (SHS). Smoke-free laws and policies provide immediate and long-term health benefits for both people who smoke and those who do not and are good for businesses and workers.

Exposure to secondhand smoke (SHS) is an occupational hazard for many casino workers – from dealers to security. But when smoking is permitted in casinos, no one – even patrons – is safe from SHS exposure. Job-related exposure to SHS is a significant, but entirely preventable, cause of premature death among U.S. workers.

 

ACS CAN and 77 leading public health organizations urged the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and its enforcement partners at the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), to use all the enforcement tools at their disposal against manufacturers, distributors, wholesalers and retailers to clear the market of unauthorized e-cigarette products, including flavored products that put young people at risk for nicotine addiction and other significant health harms.

Tobacco use causes about one-third of cancer deaths in the nation overall, but the burden varies by state.

All tobacco products, including heated tobacco products, are unsafe. Heated tobacco products involve heating rather than burning the tobacco leaf, which is why the tobacco industry refers to them as “heat-not-burn” or non-combustible cigarettes. These products differ from e-cigarettes which heat a liquid.

ACS CAN calls on the administration to finalize FDA’s rules to prohibit the sale of menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars immediately. There is no scientific rationale for permitting any flavored tobacco product to remain on the market. To end cancer as we know it for everyone, tobacco use must be addressed and cannot be done without prohibiting the sale of menthol flavors and all flavored cigars.

When faced with mounting evidence that tobacco tax increases effectively reduce tobacco use, tobacco manufacturers will try to distract policymakers from the material facts by invoking dire warnings of reduced revenue due to increased illicit activity including widespread smuggling and other organized crime that they claim will result from increased taxes on cigarettes and other tobacco products.

Pharmacies can offer an additional opportunity to aid individuals wanting to quit tobacco by providing immediate support and access to FDA-approved cessation medications.

Screening Resources:

Early detection of breast and cervical cancer through screening can improve survival and reduce mortality by finding cancer at an early stage when treatment is more effective and less expensive. To save lives and reduce health care spending, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (NBCCEDP) is highly effective at detecting and treating breast and cervical cancer in people who may otherwise not be screened.

Early detection of cancer through screening can improve survival and reduce mortality by detecting cancer at an early stage when treatment is more effective. The most recent data show breast and lung cancer screening rates were lowest among American Indian and Alaska Native people compared to other race and ethnicities, and below all race and ethnicities combined for cervical, colorectal, and prostate cancer screening.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (NBCCEDP) is highly effective at detecting and treating breast and cervical cancer in low-income, uninsured, and underinsured women – who may otherwise not be screened. The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) urges Congress to reauthorize this critical program by passing the Screening for Communities to Receive Early and Equitable Needed Services (SCREENS) for Cancer Act.

For 30 years, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program has decreased disparities in breast and cervical cancer deaths.

In 2024, an estimated 13,820 people in the U.S. will be diagnosed with invasive cervical cancer, and 4,360 will die from the disease. Cervical cancer can affect any person with a cervix and most often is caused by certain types of human papillomavirus (HPV). Persistent HPV infection causes almost all cervical cancers but fortunately there is a safe and effective vaccine against HPV.

The PSA Screening for HIM Act  (H.R. 1826/S. 2821) would remove out-of-pocket costs for prostate cancer screening for those at highest risk for the disease. 

Approximately 1 in 8 women (13%) will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer in her lifetime, and 1 in 39 women (3%) will die from breast cancer. In 2023, an estimated 297,790 women in the U.S. will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer, and 43,170 will die from the disease. Despite the fact that U.S. breast cancer death rates have been declining for several decades, not all people have benefited equally from the advances in prevention, early detection, and treatments that have helped achieve these lower rates.

Critical steps are needed to increase lung cancer screening rates across the country and also increasing to access comprehensive cessation benefits, especially among individuals with limited incomes that are disproportionately burdened by lung cancer.

ACS CAN supports H.R. 4286 to eliminate barriers and increase access to lung cancer screening and expand coverage for tobacco cessation.

Breast cancer is the second most diagnosed cancer among women in the U.S. and the second leading cause of cancer death among women after lung cancer. Ensuring breast cancer screening services ― including diagnostic and follow-up testing ― are covered without no cost-sharing is essential to increasing access and expanding coverage of breast cancer screening.

ACS CAN supports H.R. 3086 to increase access to no cost breast cancer screening, diagnostic and follow-up testing.

Healthy Eating and Active Living Resources:

The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) advocates for policies at the federal, state, and local level aimed at addressing food and nutrition insecurity and reducing health disparities. Having consistent access to affordable nutritious food has a direct impact on a person’s health and can help prevent, manage, and treat chronic diseases like cancer.

The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) supports policies and funding that increase access to “Food is Medicine” (or food as medicine) initiatives and interventions intended to prevent, treat, or manage chronic diseases and often address food and nutrition insecurity.

The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) supports giving participants of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) financial incentives to purchase fruits and vegetables.

The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) supports public policies at the local, state, and federal level that make it easier for children and adults to eat a healthy diet and to be physically active, thereby reducing their long-term cancer risk.

What children eat today affects their future cancer risks. Children with access to nutritious food are more likely to develop healthy eating habits they can continue to use into adulthood. Offering nutritious free school meals and snacks, before, during, and after school to all students is an effective policy intervention to address food insecurity and improve diet quality.

The American Cancer Society (ACS) and the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) appreciate the opportunity to comment on the USDA proposed rule to revise the child nutrition program requirements for meal patterns to be consistent with current nutrition science and federal dietary guidance.

Many important public health policies are often developed and passed at the local level. Communities are also able to advance health equity when they can pass specific public health policies aimed at addressing local health disparities. But preemption—when a higher level of government revokes local authority—can restrict local policymakers’ ability to pass, implement, and enforce innovative and proactive public health policies. States should be able to set a minimum standard for public health protections, but they should not pre-empt local governments from going above and beyond that minimum standard.

The American Cancer Society (ACS) and the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) appreciate the opportunity to comment on the proposed rule to update the definition for the implied nutrient content claim “healthy” to be consistent with current nutrition science and Federal dietary guidance.

ACS CAN supports giving people tools, such as the U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGAs), to make healthful food and beverage choices.