Trenton – Today, New Jersey lawmakers released budget numbers that reflect a dangerous reduction in screening for critical cancer screening programs, by reducing the budget of the New Jersey Cancer Education and Early Detection Screening Program (NJCEED) from $3.5 Million to $3.1 Million, an 11 percent cut.
NJCEED offers a critically important service to men and women who lack health insurance – screening for breast, cervical, colorectal, and prostate cancer at no cost to the patient. Detected early, these cancers are more effectively treated. Failing to have these cancers detected early can lead to deadly consequences.
The following statement can be attributed to Michael Davoli, director of government relations for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) in New Jersey.
“While COVID-19 stopped much of how we live, cancer did not stop. Unfortunately, the 2021-2022 budget agreed upon by Governor Murphy and state leaders reduces funding for a critical cancer screening program in New Jersey at a time when it is needed the most to ensure that all New Jerseyans get the screening that they need.
“This risky and shortsighted act by Governor Murphy, Senate President Stephen Sweeney, Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin and the legislature to reduce the budget of the NJCEED by nearly half a million dollars comes at a time when the state is reporting a $10.1 Billion surplus due to booming tax collections and in a year when more than 53,000 New Jerseyans will hear the words ‘you have cancer.’
“Making matters worse, over 150,000 New Jerseyans have lost their employer-based health insurance since the pandemic began. Those are some of the millions of New Jersey residents who count on NJCEED for their lifesaving cancer screening.
“Due to COVID-19, cancer screening plummeted during the pandemic. These delays in screening have caused a backlog in screening that will be difficult to make up. Cutting funding for a program like NJCEED is the exact opposite of what is needed right now, and the impact of these cuts will be felt for decades.
“ACS CAN calls upon Governor Murphy and legislative leaders to commit to fighting cancer and restore the cut to NJCEED.”