PHILADELPHIA, PA – JANUARY 18, 2023 – Last week the American Cancer Society (ACS) released their annual report “Cancer Facts and Figures” projecting cancer’s impact in 2023. Released in time for Cervical Cancer Awareness Month, the 2023 report estimates that around 510 Pennsylvanians will be diagnosed with cervical cancer and 160 will die from the disease this year alone. The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) has identified two policies as the means by which Pennsylvania can reduce incidence and mortality rates for cervical cancer, among other diagnoses, and displace Pennsylvania as the state with the sixth highest rate of cervical cancer incidence and fifth highest rate of cervical cancer deaths in the U.S.
- Maintain Pennsylvania’s annual budget of $2.563 million for the Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program.
If detected early, cervical cancer is one of the most successfully treatable cancers. Diagnoses of and death from cervical cancer have declined by over 50% in the past 40 years, largely due to prevention and early detection through widespread uptake of screening; however, the rate of decline in cervical cancer mortality rates has slowed in recent years.
Local Montgomery County resident Heather Schweitzer is a 20-year cervical cancer survivor who credits her survivorship with a routine Pap test. Heather joins ACS CAN in advocating for the state legislature to continue to prioritize funding for early detection services for low-income under- or uninsured Pennsylvanians; doing so will ensure that Pennsylvania can, with each year, screen more residents and prevent disease progression.
- Expand access to biomarker testing for patients covered by state-regulated health plans, including Medicaid.
Insight gained from biomarker testing can be used to help guide medical treatment in cervical and other cancers. Biomarker testing is often used to connect patients with targeted treatments that can improve survivorship. Biomarkers can also open the door for cancer patients to participate in clinical trials, which advance new cancer treatments and have the power to improve outcomes. Ensuring that every Pennsylvanian who needs biomarker testing has access to it will unlock treatment opportunities for more residents and work to raise survival rates among cervical cancer patients.
“Nearly all cervical cancers are preventable; when precancerous lesions are identified and removed, there is an almost 100% survival rate with appropriate evaluation, treatment and follow up. If Pennsylvania state leaders prioritize expanding access to screening and strengthening treatment opportunities enabled by biomarker testing, we can reactivate the decades-long decline in cervical cancer incidence and death,” said ACS CAN Pennsylvania Government Relations Director Emma Watson.
ACS CAN maintains resources on cervical cancer prevention, detection and treatment. For more details, visit https://www.fightcancer.org/what-we-do/breast-and-cervical-cancer.
About ACS CAN
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 improves the lives of people with cancer and their families. 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 advanced proven tobacco control measures. We’re more determined than ever to stand together with our volunteers to end cancer as we know it, for everyone. Join the fight by visiting www.fightcancer.org.