LAS VEGAS, Nev. - Today is World Cancer Day and the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network urges the legislature to protect funding for breast and cervical cancer screening and tobacco control efforts. ACS CAN is deeply concerned that the state’s proposed budget slashes approximately $2.5 million from Nevada’s already underfunded tobacco prevention program that was being used to address the youth e-cigarette epidemic.
Tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable death and smoking is linked to at least 13 types of cancer. Futhermore, 24.1% of Nevada’s high school students use e-cigarettes. ACS CAN knows that comprehensive, adequately funded tobacco prevention programs reduce tobacco use and related disease, resulting in lower health care costs. In fiscal year 2021, Nevada dedicated just 11.5% of the $30 million recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"We know the economy is tight and lawmakers have tough decisions to make, but cutting funding for public health in the middle of a pandemic is dangerous," said Brook Carlisle, ACS CAN government relations director. "Nevada’s tobacco control program prevents young people from becoming addicted to tobacco products including e-cigarettes, and helps adults quit. Knowing that people who smoke or have smoked are at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19, this is certainly not the time to cut funding for services to help reduce tobacco use."
Additionally, the pandemic underscores the critical need for access to health care, and ACS CAN also calls on lawmakers to maintain funding for the Women’s Health Connection, Nevada’s breast and cervical cancer early detection program. The program provides low-income, uninsured and underinsured women with potentially lifesaving mammograms and Pap screening tests.
Women’s Health Connection has provided breast and cervical cancer screening to more than 57,500 women, and diagnosed more than 679 breast cancers and 967 cervical cancer or premalignant cervical lesions in Nevada. With the ongoing COVID-19 crisis and resulting unemployment and loss of health insurance coverage, it’s likely the need and demand for screening and early detection services through Women’s Health Connection will increase, making it more important than ever to ensure it’s adequately funded.
"Nearly 17,000 Nevadans will be diagnosed with cancer this year. World Cancer Day is a great opportunity for the Nevada legislature to support cancer patients in their fight against this disease,” Carlisle said. “As the 2021 legislative sessions kicks off this week, ACS CAN looks forward to working with lawmakers and hopes they prioritize funding for these critical cancer-fighting programs."
To learn more about ACS CAN and get involved in Nevada, visit www.fightcancer.org/nevada.
About ACS CAN
The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) makes 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 www.fightcancer.org.