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Tennessee Falling Short on Cancer-Fighting Public Policies

ACS CAN is Calling on Lawmakers to Join Us in The Fight to Prevent Cancer and Further Improve Quality of Life for Cancer Patients in Tennessee.

August 9, 2018

Nashville, TN – August 9, 2019 – Tennessee is falling short when it comes to implementing policies and passing legislation to prevent and reduce suffering and death from cancer according to the latest edition of How Do You Measure Up?: A Progress Report on State Legislative Activity to Reduce Cancer Incidence and Mortality.

“This report shows that we must do more to reduce suffering and death from cancer. But we have the power to make a difference for Tennesseans immediately by implementing proven cancer-fighting policies,” said Emily Ogden, Tennessee government relations director for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN). “This year alone in Tennessee, 36,790 people will be diagnosed with cancer. We owe it to them and everyone at risk of developing the disease, to do what we know works to prevent cancer and improve access to screenings and treatment.”

How Do You Measure Up? rates states in nine specific areas of public policy that can help fight cancer, including increased access to care through Medicaid, funding for cancer screening programs, smoke-free laws, cigarette tax levels, funding for tobacco prevention and cessation programs, cessation coverage under Medicaid and restricting indoor tanning devices for minors. The report also looks at whether a state provides a balanced approach to pain medication and if it has passed policies proven to increase patient quality of life. 

A color-coded system classifies how well a state is doing in each issue. Green shows that a state has adopted evidence-based policies and best practices; yellow indicates moderate movement toward the benchmark and red shows where states are falling short. 

Palliative care passing this year was a great step forward for quality of life for cancer patients and their families in Tennessee, but there is still a lot of work to be done. ACS CAN is calling on lawmakers to join us in the fight to prevent cancer and further improve quality of life for cancer patients in Tennessee. 

“As advocates, we have the opportunity to work with our Tennessee legislators on implementing policies and programs that prevent and treat cancer,” said Michael Holtz, state lead ambassador, ACS CAN. “Together, we can build stronger, healthier communities and ensure Tennesseans have access to measures that prevent disease before it occurs, ultimately saving more lives from cancer.” 

To view the complete report and details on Tennessee’s grades, visit www.fightcancer.org.

ACS CAN, the nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate of the American Cancer Society, supports evidence-based policy and legislative solutions designed to eliminate cancer as a major health problem. ACS CAN works to encourage elected officials and candidates to make cancer a top national priority. ACS CAN gives ordinary people extraordinary power to fight cancer with the training and tools they need to make their voices heard. For more information, visit www.fightcancer.org.

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Media Contacts

Michelle Zimmerman
Senior Specialist, Division Media Advocacy