WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Sept. 28, 2006 -- On the heels of an historic advocacy event in Washington last week that brought 10,000 advocates to Capitol Hill and involved meetings with nearly every Congressional office, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action NetworkSM (ACS CAN) is launching its Campaign Against CancerTM electoral program to make federal Cancer Research Funding an issue in the 2006 midterm elections.
Cancer patients, survivors and their families from every Congressional district in the country united on the National Mall Sept. 20 for Celebration on the Hill 2006, a unique grassroots event celebrating cancer survivorship and urging Congress to make cancer a national priority. The event, sponsored by ACS CAN, called nationwide attention to the critical need for government support of cancer research and lifesaving cancer prevention and early detection programs.
Cancer advocates held meetings in all but a couple of Congressional offices that day to ask lawmakers to sign ACS CAN’s Congressional Cancer Promise, which outlines short-term legislative proposals to elevate prevention, early detection and survivorship, increase the nation’s commitment to research and expand access to care. By the day’s end, more than 300 Members of Congress had signed the Promise.
This week, ACS CAN is sending electoral kits to more than 3,500 Celebration Ambassadors – patients, survivors, caregivers and loved ones who traveled to Washington last week to meet with their Members of Congress. The kits kick off ACS CAN’s Campaign Against Cancer, a drive to put candidates for Congress on the record with their views on the importance of federal Cancer Research Funding.
The kits will arrive in shiny red, blue and silver envelopes that include palm cards with questions voters are encouraged to ask candidates about their positions on health care reform, medical research funding, programs that enhance prevention and early detection efforts, and Association Health Plans and other proposals to allow health insurers to bypass state patien protections. The kits also include door hangers and lapel stickers encouraging voters to make cancer an issue in the upcoming elections.
Last year, Congress voted to cut the National Institutes of Health budget for the first time in 35 years and to reduce funding for cancer research for the first time in a decade. President Bush’s budget proposal for the coming fiscal year included additional cuts of $40 million.
“Voters across the country who have been touched by cancer will be considering candidates’ positions on health issues when deciding how to vote in November,” said Daniel E. Smith, ACS CAN’s national vice president of government relations. “Congressional candidates need to know that anything but a strong and unequivocal position in support of increased federal Cancer Research Funding will raise concerns among many of their constituents.”
Advocates who receive the kits are being asked to get candidates on the record by asking about their positions on cancer issues at town hall forums and other community campaign events, to encourage others to make cancer an election issue by distributing door hangers in their neighborhoods and to report on their efforts so ACS CAN can track their activities. The materials are all available on www.fightcancer.org for advocates to download and reproduce.
“Cancer advocates are making a strong statement to Members of Congress about the importance of the government’s role in the battle against this disease,” said Alan G. Thorson, M.D., president of ACS CAN. “They are telling lawmakers that without Congressional support, the war on cancer will not be won.”
The Congressional Cancer Promise outlines ACS CAN’s positions on important issues this election season, calling for Congress to ensure that all people have access to the full continuum of quality cancer care, support an annual increase of 5 percent or more in funding for the National Cancer Institute, reauthorize and increase funding for the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program, support colorectal cancer screening and treatment for the uninsured and eliminate Medicare copays for screening and early detection programs, among other proposals.
ACS CAN is the nonprofit, nonpartisan sister advocacy organization of the American Cancer Society. ACS CAN is dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major public health problem through voter education and issue campaigns aimed at influencing candidates and lawmakers to support laws and policies that will help people fight cancer. ACS CAN does not endorse candidates and is not a political action committee (PAC). For more information, visit www.fightcancer.org.
FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT:
Phone: (202) 661-5711
E-mail: [email protected]