A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Progress report from ACS affiliate indicates Kentucky falling short on cancer-fighting public policies

Kentucky 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 Kentuckians immediately by implementing proven cancer-fighting policies,” said Erica Palmer Smith, Kentucky government relations director for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN).

“This year alone in Kentucky, 25,990 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. This includes 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.

“This report shows lawmakers a legislative path forward to improve cancer prevention efforts, curb tobacco use, prioritize the quality of life for patients and their families and increase access to critical health coverage,” Smith said.

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.

Kentucky still has a long way to go when it comes to preventing cancer and providing better access to care for those diagnosed with cancer. Unfortunately, Kentucky is #1 in incidence and mortalities from cancer. Kentucky is known as the cancer capital. ACS CAN looks forward to working with lawmakers to prevent cancer diagnosis and improve outcomes for cancer patients.

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

To view the complete report and details on Kentucky’s grades, click here..

ACS CAN is the nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate of the American Cancer Society. It supports evidence-based policy and legislative solutions designed to eliminate cancer as a major health problem.

For more information, click here.



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