Courage in Action: Cancer Survivors Unite at State Capitol to Advocate for Change

Michigan Must Do Better to Reduce the Burden of Cancer

March 13, 2024

LANSING, MICH. – Today, cancer patients, survivors and caregivers from across the state traveled to the Statehouse in Lansing to meet with their elected officials during Cancer Action Day. They let their lawmakers know that Michigan can and must do better to prioritize preventing cancer and improving access to cancer care.

“As a cervical cancer survivor, I know the importance of preventing cancer and improving access to care all too well,” said Heidi Varner, cancer survivor and American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network volunteer. “In Lansing today, I let our lawmakers know that they must do all they can to reduce the toll of cancer on Michiganders. Michigan can and must do better.”

Advocates asked lawmakers to reduce the toll of tobacco on our state by making a meaningful investment of an additional $5 million annually in fact-based programs that address tobacco use. We need well-funded programs to counteract Big Tobacco’s deceptive marketing strategy and prevent another generation of people from becoming addicted to these deadly products.  

Advocates also asked lawmakers to provide better access to care by passing co-pay accumulator legislation. Passing this legislation will require that all prescription drug payments made by patients, directly or on their behalf, count toward their overall out-of-pocket maximum or deductible, making cancer treatment more affordable. 

An estimated 64,530 Michiganders will be diagnosed with cancer and 21,480 are expected to die from the devastating disease this year. Those gathered at the Statehouse today are calling on Michigan lawmakers to change this by taking steps to prioritize the fight against cancer. 


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

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Media Contacts

Michelle Zimmerman
Associate Director, Regional Media Advocacy