Cancer Advocates Held Cancer Action Day at Capitol Today, Urging Lawmakers to Reduce Barriers to Cancer Care

ACS CAN 2020 Cancer Action Day Brings Voices of Cancer Patients to Capitol

February 18, 2020

Nashville, TN – Cancer patients, their families and other volunteers from around the state who have been touched by cancer came together at the State Capitol in Nashville to advocate for cancer-fighting legislation today, Tuesday, February 18, 2020. The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) gives people impacted by cancer a powerful voice with lawmakers by holding an annual Cancer Action Day. 

Topping the list of priorities this year was addressing barriers to care for cancer patients. Volunteers met with lawmakers to discuss legislation that will limit the use of step therapy also known as "fail first" policies when it comes to access to medication. Currently, insurance companies may require a cancer patient to try, and fail on a lower‐cost drug before they will cover the drug prescribed by the patient's doctor even if the doctor feels the more expensive treatment is more effective.

“Step therapy can undermine physicians’ ability to effectively treat patients, can lower quality of care, and lead to setbacks and disease progression for patients,” said Emily Ogden, government relations director, ACS CAN. “Delays in access to the best treatment available, that could be experienced as a result of patients having to go through a step therapy protocol, can pose significant risk to the treatment of disease.” 

Advocates also spoke with lawmakers about tobacco use in Tennessee, including the youth e-cigarette epidemic, which is rising at an alarming rate. To prevent a lifetime addiction to tobacco, ACS CAN volunteer advocates met with lawmakers to urge them to restore funding to the state’s tobacco cessation and prevention programs.


The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) is making cancer a top priority for public officials and candidates at the federal, state and local levels. ACS CAN empowers advocates across the country to make their voices heard and influence evidence-based public policy change as well as legislative and regulatory solutions that will reduce the cancer burden. As the American Cancer Society’s nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate, ACS CAN is critical to the fight for a world without cancer. For more information, visit

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Michelle Zimmerman
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