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Report Finds Majority of States Falling Short on Laws and Policies that Prevent Cancer and Save Lives

September 29, 2011 Comments off

Report Finds Majority of States Falling Short on Laws and Policies that Prevent Cancer and Save Lives
Source: Cancer Action Network

A majority of states are falling short on legislative solutions to prevent and fight cancer, according to a new report released today by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN). In a year consumed by budget shortfalls and legislative challenges, many state legislatures missed opportunities to enact laws and policies that could not only save money and generate revenue, but also save lives.

The report, How Do You Measure Up?: A Progress Report on State Legislative Activity to Reduce Cancer Incidence and Mortality, was released today at the National Conference of State Legislatures annual meeting in San Antonio, TX. The report finds that 24 states have reached benchmarks on none or only one of the five legislative priority areas measured by ACS CAN, the advocacy affiliate of the American Cancer Society. Only four states met four or five of the benchmarks for effective cancer-fighting policies.

How Do You Measure Up? ranks state policies in five priority areas: breast and cervical cancer early detection program funding; colorectal screening coverage laws; smoke-free laws; tobacco prevention program funding; and tobacco taxes. A color-coded system is used to identify how well a state is doing. Green represents the benchmark position, showing that a state has adopted well-balanced policies and good practices; yellow indicates moderate movement toward the benchmark and red shows where states are falling short.

Only Delaware reached a benchmark in all five legislative areas in the fight against cancer and only three states – Hawaii, Maine and New Jersey – reached benchmarks in four of the five areas. Seven states – Alabama, Florida, Idaho, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Tennessee – did not meet the benchmark on any of the five issues, and another 17 received high marks on only one issue.

The report also offers a blueprint for effective legislation on matters such as tobacco cessation funding; regulating indoor tanning devices; obesity, nutrition and physical activity; and quality of life. To assist state lawmakers with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, the report provides a model framework for establishing consumer-friendly state health exchanges and protecting Medicaid programs – a critical lifeline for many cancer patients.

+ Full Report

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