LAS VEGAS—Cancer patients, survivors and advocates from across Nevada will meet virtually this week with Nevada lawmakers during the state’s Cancer Action Week, hosted by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN). During online meetings, phone calls and emails, the group will urge their legislators to support policies to fight cancer in Nevada.
To kick off the week, Senator Julia Ratti and Assemblywoman Teresa Benitez-Thompson will read a proclamation on Monday declaring May 3-7 "Cancer Action Week" in Nevada. The proclamation raises awareness about the need to improve cancer prevention and early detection, provide quality treatment, increase access to lifesaving research, and promote access to care and advance health equity in the fight against cancer. The proclamation honors Jet Mitchell, an ACS CAN Nevada cancer advocate who passed away in September 2020 from metastatic breast cancer.
"Jet’s spirit will be on the floor of the Nevada state capitol this week as we continue the work that was so important to her," said Sherry Jasperson, fellow ACS CAN advocate who worked alongside Mitchell in her mission to make lives better for those impacted by the disease. "We’re grateful to the legislature for honoring Jet in this way and encourage all Nevadans to take time this week to learn about cancer prevention and early detection and ways they can get involved with our efforts in Nevada."
This year's Cancer Action Week will focus on reducing the devastating toll of tobacco use, which is linked to at least 13 types of cancer. Specifically, the group will urge state lawmakers to preserve current funding for Nevada’s tobacco prevention and cessation program, including the $5 million that is at risk. Well-funded tobacco control programs are critical to prevent youth from starting to use deadly tobacco products and help adults quit—especially as we face rising rates of youth tobacco use with roughy 24% of Nevada high schoolers using e-cigarettes.
"Throughout this pandemic, cancer hasn’t stopped and neither have we. We will let our lawmaker know that at this critical moment, we’re counting on them to prioritize efforts that will save lives from cancer," said Jon Castagnino, Las Vegas resident and state lead ambassador for ACS CAN in Nevada. "If we’re going to eliminate cancer as a major health threat, we must ensure that public health policies such as maintaining funding for tobacco prevention and cessation efforts are top of mind."
Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death and smoking will kill 4,100 Nevadans this year. Additionally, nearly 30% of the state’s cancer deaths are caused by smoking. Tobacco use costs the state approximately $1.1 billion in annual health care costs.
To learn more about ACS CAN’s cancer advocacy work, visit www.fightcancer.org/nevada.