Legislative Action Needed to Reduce the Burden of Cancer

Ensuring access to needed biomarker testing is the single biggest step the legislature could take

January 9, 2023

OLYMPIA, WA. – As lawmakers dive into the 2023 legislative session, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) urges state lawmakers to prioritize legislation that ensures biomarker testing is appropriately covered by more insurance plans, including Apple Health, which will ease the burden of cancer on Washington residents. 

“This is about ‘the right treatment at the right time.’ Biomarker testing is the gateway to precision medicine, and precision medicine plays a critical role in improving cancer outcomes,” said Matt Helder, government relations director, ACS CAN. “Unfortunately, insurance coverage for biomarker testing in Washington isn’t keeping up with the science. Every patient who could benefit deserves access to this tool that can open the door to life-enhancing treatments.”

To determine if a patient will benefit from certain targeted therapies, doctors must first test for specific biomarkers, such as gene mutations, measured in blood, tissue, or other biospecimens. The impact of biomarker testing that connects patients to the right treatment for their specific cancer is enormous. For example, patients with certain lung cancer types who received biomarker testing and targeted therapy had a 31% reduction in mortality.



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 

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