Des Moines, Iowa – The Iowa Legislature approved a budget bill today that includes initiatives supported by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) to improve cancer prevention, early detection and treatment.
The budget includes funding for Iowa’s tobacco prevention and cessation programs, which are proven to save lives and dollars. Tobacco use continues to be the number one cause of preventable disease and death in the U.S. In fact, smoking leads to a third of all cancer deaths in our country. Smoking currently costs Iowa close to $1.3 billion in health care costs each year and claims more than 5,100 lives each year.
“While smoking rates have declined in Iowa over the last decade, we’re seeing that progress stall as youth tobacco use rates increase, largely driven by skyrocketing rates of youth e-cigarette use. Over 20% of our high school students report using e-cigarettes, while 6.7% report they smoke,” said Shana Crews, ACS CAN Iowa government relations director. “It’s imperative that we continue funding the state’s tobacco prevention and cessation programs to help those addicted to tobacco products quit and keep kids from becoming lifetime customers of an industry that profits off products that lead to premature death,” she added.
State legislators also approved funding for the Care for Yourself breast and cervical cancer screening program, which will help preserve a critical safety net for thousands of women in Iowa who are otherwise unable to access cancer screenings and treatment. This lifesaving program has become even more important as unemployment rates surge as a result of the pandemic and Iowans continue to lose their employer sponsored health coverage.
“Early detection is truly a matter of life or death for the more than 2,700 Iowa women who will be diagnosed with breast or cervical cancer this year,” Crews said. “Preserving funding for Care for Yourself is critical to detecting and treating cancer at an early stage, when treatment is more effective and less expensive.”
An estimated 20,000 Iowans will be diagnosed with cancer this year and will begin their fight against the disease. Thanks in part to good public health policies, the five-year relative survival rate for all cancers has continued to improve and close to 17 million Americans are cancer survivors today.
About ACS CAN at 20
The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) makes cancer a top priority for policymakers at every level of government. ACS CAN empowers volunteers across the country to make their voices heard to influence evidence-based public policy change that saves lives. We believe everyone should have a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat, and survive cancer. Since 2001, as the American Cancer Society’s nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate, ACS CAN has successfully advocated for billions of dollars in cancer research funding, expanded access to quality affordable health care, and made workplaces, including restaurants and bars, smoke-free. As we mark our 20th anniversary, we’re more determined than ever to stand together with our volunteers and save more lives from cancer. Join the fight by visiting www.fightcancer.org.