LANSING, MI – This statement can be attributed to CJ Heisler, caregiver to his dad and volunteer with the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN).
Cancer Advocates in Raleigh to Support Cancer Prevention and Cessation, Improved Access to Treatment
More than 100 attend ACS CAN Day at the Capitol
RALEIGH, NC– More than 100 cancer patients, survivors and advocates from the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) travelled to the Capitol today in support of restoring funding for comprehensive tobacco prevention and cessation programs as well as ensuring access to the most appropriate treatments for cancer patients.
“When you consider the toll that cancer takes each year in North Carolina, we must ensure policies are in place that will begin to minimize the impact of this disease,” said John Tramontin, North Carolina’s volunteer lead ambassador for ACS CAN. “The evidence is clear that when a state invests in comprehensive tobacco prevention and cessation programs, fewer people will be diagnosed with cancer.”
ACS CAN is supporting HB276, sponsored by Rep. Donny Lambeth and Rep. Gale Adcock, and companion SB478, sponsored by Sen. Mike Woodard and Sen. Cathy Dunn, which would restore $17 million for evidence-based youth tobacco prevention programs. North Carolina receives more than $430 million dollars annually in tobacco tax and tobacco Master Settlement Agreement revenue. However, North Carolina appropriates no money for youth tobacco prevention program funding.
ACS CAN also supports an additional investment of $3 million per year for the state’s tobacco cessation programs. These programs currently receive a total of $1.1 million annually, which is just 1 percent of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) funding guidelines for the program.
Studies have shown that establishing comprehensive tobacco control programs that are consistent with CDC guidelines help to reduce the death, disease, disability and other harms caused by smoking and other tobacco use. They also save money by reducing tobacco-related health care costs. North Carolina currently ranks 47th in the country with respect to its state funding for these programs.
Additionally, ACS CAN is supporting the NC Cancer Treatment Fairness Act (SB152/HB206), sponsored by Sen. Ralph Hise, Sen. Andrew Brock and Sen. Jerry Tillman, as well as Rep. David Lewis, Rep. Donnie Lambeth, Rep. Pat McElraft and Rep. Darren Jackson. The Act would improve access to the most appropriate treatment for cancer patients by providing similar out of pocket costs for infusion chemotherapy and oral anti-cancer medications. To date, 43 states and the District of Columbia have enacted similar legislation to modernize insurance plan designs by allowing improved patient access for oral anti-cancer treatments. None of these states have reported a significant increase in insurance premiums.
“Oral chemotherapy is an important element in treating many types of cancer,” said Christine Weason, North Carolina government relations director for ACS CAN. “Yet, because insurance benefit designs have not kept pace with advances in treatment, cancer patients’ out-of-pocket costs can vary significantly depending on whether the drug is administered orally versus intravenously. This bill will ensure that cancer patients are treated fairly under their insurance plan, no matter what type of lifesaving drug they are prescribed.”
ACS CAN also supports $1 million in recurring funding for the Healthy Corner Stores initiative which would help address the more than 349 “food deserts” in the state that are impacting 1.5 million people.
North Carolina is projected to have 56,900 new cancer cases diagnosed during 2017 and 20,020 are projected to die from the disease. Additionally, there are more than 428,800 North Carolinians alive today who have survived a cancer diagnosis.
About ACS CAN
ACS CAN, the nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate of the American Cancer Society, supports evidence-based policy and legislative solutions designed to eliminate cancer as a major health problem. ACS CAN works to encourage elected officials and candidates to make cancer a top national priority. ACS CAN gives ordinary people extraordinary power to fight cancer with the training and tools they need to make their voices heard. For more information, visit fightcancer.org.