Local Las Vegas Cancer Advocate is in Nation’s Capital to Urge Federal Lawmakers to Make Cancer a Top Priority
Hundreds of Advocates from Every State in D.C. to Advocate for Cancer-fighting Legislation Including Push to Get Congress to Pass Youth E-Cigarette Protections
Washington, D.C. – Nearly 700 cancer patients, survivors, volunteers and staff from all 50 states and nearly every congressional district are gathering in Washington, D.C. this week as part of the annual American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) Leadership Summit and Lobby Day. Advocates are urging Congress to take steps to make cancer a national priority and help end a disease that still kills more than 1,660 people a day in this country.
The ACS CAN Lobby Day will culminate at sunset this evening with a Lights of Hope ceremony in front of the Lincoln Memorial featuring more than 40,000 lights in honor of a cancer survivor or to memorialize a loved one lost to the disease.
The lead ACS CAN volunteer for all of Nevada, Sherry Jasperson from Las Vegas, will be at the ceremony after shipping Lights of Hope bags all the way from Nevada to Washington, D.C. She will meet with her representatives on Capitol Hill to ask for support in four key areas in the cancer fight.
“Too many Americans are suffering and dying from cancer every day. Families across this country are counting on Congress to lead the fight against this terrible disease,” said Jasperson. “As an ACS CAN volunteer, I urge Congress to commit to making cancer a national priority by increasing federal funding for cancer research, supporting improvements to patient quality of life, restricting flavors in tobacco products that attract kids and eliminating surprise costs for seniors getting colorectal cancer screenings.
“Roughly one in three Americans will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime. Their lives may depend on the decisions made by our lawmakers today. We want Congress to know that volunteers from Nevada, and from every state across the country, are counting on them to take action now to reduce suffering and death from cancer.”
Specifically, Jasperson and her fellow volunteers are asking their Members of Congress to:
- Increase funding for research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) by $2.5 billion for Fiscal Year 2020 All of us have been touched by cancer – whether it’s a friend, family or ourselves directly. But there is hope. With over 16.9 million cancer survivors alive today we know that past investments in cancer research have made a real difference for millions of Americans. There is perhaps no better way for Congress to demonstrate support for the fight against cancer than by funding lifesaving research to develop better treatments. We are at a critical moment in time—advancements in research are saving more lives than ever. But we need increased, sustainable federal investment to build on the progress that has led to medical breakthroughs for treatments and therapies for millions of cancer patients.
- Help protect young people from tobacco addiction by supporting the SAFE Kids Act and the Reversing the Youth Tobacco Epidemic Act Tobacco use among youth is disturbingly high. In 2018, 27% of high school students used a tobacco product – including 20% who reported having used an e-cigarette. Flavors play a role in youth use of tobacco products, with 80% of youth first using a flavored product and 96% of youth who ever tried an e-cigarette first using a flavored e-cigarette. Given roughly one-third of all cancer deaths are related to tobacco use, by restricting flavors in tobacco products and helping to prevent youth use, Members of Congress have the opportunity to reduce future cancer diagnoses.
- Support the Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act (PCHETA) From the very moment a person hears the words “you have cancer,” they deal with the anxiety and fear of the unknown. During treatment a patient can endure pain and side effects, and they face the potential of lingering physical symptoms during survivorship. ACS CAN is leading an effort to make palliative care more easily available to people who need it, by supporting PCHETA, a bipartisan bill that focuses on palliative care research, workforce training and public awareness. PCHETA has tremendous bipartisan support in Congress, with more than 260 cosponsors in the House and 25 in the Senate.
- Remove barriers to colorectal screening Colorectal cancer is the second most common cause of cancer death in the United States among men and women combined. If (precancerous) polyps are found and removed during a routine colorectal cancer screening colonoscopy, Medicare patients can receive a bill of up to $350. This is not an issue with private insurance, but because of a loophole in the law, it is an issue for people with Medicare coverage. This can result in surprise costs for older Americans. There is tremendous bipartisan support for the Removing Barriers to Colorectal Cancer Screening Act, which would ensure Medicare patients receive these crucial screenings without facing an unexpected bill.
Before meeting with their legislators, cancer advocates attended training sessions on communicating with elected officials, conducting grassroots activities in their communities and engaging the media.
About ACS CAN
The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) is making 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.