Hundreds of Cancer Advocates to Urge Lawmakers to Step Up Fight Against Cancer

September 25, 2007

WASHINGTON -- September 24, 2007 -- More than 500 cancer survivors, patients, caregivers and volunteers from all 50 states are uniting today to lobby their members of Congress in support of policies that will help prevent and fight cancer. The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) is hosting its annual leadership summit and lobby day to give volunteers the opportunity to meet with their elected officials to encourage support for ACS CAN's lifesaving federal initiatives that are critical to reducing suffering and death from cancer.

Before meeting with their legislators, cancer advocates will go through a training on communicating with elected officials, speaking with the media and engaging in grassroots activities in their districts.

"Our volunteers represent cancer patients from every corner of the country who know, first-hand, the urgent need to enact laws that will sustain and promote progress in the fight against cancer," said Daniel E. Smith, president of ACS CAN, and Laura J. Hilderley, RN, MS, volunteer chair of the ACS CAN board. "Public policy shapes medical decisions in every doctor's office across the nation. Our annual lobby day is a chance to engage in the process by raising awareness about the ability to eradicate this disease by making it a national priority."

The Congressional visits coincide with the recent launch of an unprecedented public education campaign by ACS CAN's sister charity organization, the American Cancer Society. A multi-million-dollar advertising campaign, along with a sophisticated Web presence and related grassroots activities, are designed to elevate the health care debate in advance of the 2008 elections and motivate the public to take action in support of access to quality care for all Americans.

Advocates will urge their members of Congress to give the Food and Drug Administration the broad authority to regulate the sale, advertising, manufacture and distribution of tobacco products, and to boost the federal tobacco tax to discourage tobacco use and fund an expansion of the State Children's Health Insurance Program. Tobacco use is responsible for nearly one in five deaths and will kill approximately 440,000 Americans this year alone. Advocates will also push Congress to increase the federal investment in medical research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Cancer Institute (NCI) at a pace that at a minimum keeps up with medical inflation.

Access to routine cancer screenings is critical to detecting many cancers in their early and most treatable stages. Therefore, advocates will encourage Congress to fully fund the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program, and to create a similar early detection program for colorectal cancer, to ensure uninsured and underinsured men and women have access to lifesaving cancer screenings.

Elected officials will also be asked to sign ACS CAN's Congressional Cancer Promise, which outlines short-term steps, such as adequate funding for the National Institutes of Health, that must be taken to get our country back on track toward winning the war on cancer.

This year, more than 1.4 million Americans will be newly diagnosed with cancer and more than 560,000 will die from the disease. The cancer activists will push for their elected officials' commitment to voting for strong public policies that will advance the progress our country is making against cancer.

The Lobby Day schedule will include the presentation of the Society's National Distinguished Advocacy Award. This year's award recipients are Representative Michael N. Castle (R-DE) and Senator Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA). The National Distinguished Advocacy Award is the Society's most prestigious advocacy award bestowed to any public official and is awarded for leadership in the fight against cancer.

The Society will also present the first We Can Be Smokefree Award to District of Columbia Mayor Adrian Fenty. This award recognizes the city for its bold move in becoming smoke-free in January of this year, an initiative that was widely supported by the community.

A reception honoring the recipients of these awards will be held Tuesday, September 25th at the JW Marriott in Washington, D.C.

ACS CAN is the nonprofit, nonpartisan sister advocacy organization of the American Cancer Society, which is dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem. ACS CAN works to encourage lawmakers, candidates and government officials to support laws and policies that will make cancer a top national priority. ACS CAN gives ordinary people extraordinary power to fight cancer. For more information, visit

Alissa Havens or Steven Weiss
American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network
Phone: 202-905-1300 or 202-276-8772
Email: [email protected] or [email protected]

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