Cancer Society on State of State Address

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In Tough Times, State Must Continue Commitment to Anti-tobacco, Cancer Screening Programs

Statement from Donald Distasio, CEO, American Cancer Society of NY & NJ, in response to Governor Cuomo’s State of the State Address.

“Health care is a huge drain on New York State’s wallet, but some programs, like the NYS Tobacco Control Program (TCP) and the NYS Cancer Services Program (CSP), actually put dollars back into the state’s billfold.  Gov. Cuomo’s State of the State Address today showed that he’s committed to trimming the state budget to the bone to ensure a solvent future, but he must realize that cuts should not be made that will cost the state money, and the lives of its citizens, in the long run.

We understand that New York’s fiscal situation is dire and drastic steps must be taken to right the ship.  But cuts must be thoughtful and deliberate. The American Cancer Society urges Gov. Cuomo to recognize the real dollar value in the NYS Tobacco Control Program and NYS Cancer Services Program – cuts to these programs will result in higher costs to the state, and will deprive residents of a fighting chance to beat cancer.”

NYS Tobacco Control Program:
Investing in tobacco prevention pays off quickly. If New York could get 25 percent of its smokers to quit, the state would save $370 million a year in Medicaid expenditures alone. Between 2003 and 2008, that’s what happened: the adult smoking rate fell from 21.6 percent to 16.8 percent.  But as soon as the state started cutting the program’s budget, the smoking rate started back up.

NYS Cancer Services Program:
Many New Yorkers can’t afford recommended cancer screenings.  The CSP offers no cost breast, cervical and colon cancer screenings to uninsured New Yorkers and, when needed, provides access to life-saving treatment they couldn’t otherwise afford. According to the NYS Department of Health, by detecting breast cancer at an earlier stage when it's more easily treated, the CSP saves nearly $50 million a year in treatment costs.


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