“Screening is Seeing” Advertising Campaign Emphasizes Critical Need to Fund Cancer Prevention and Early Detection Programs
Washington, D.C. – August 9, 2010 – The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) is launching a new print and online advertising campaign in congressional districts across the country this week, urging lawmakers to fully fund a lifesaving cancer prevention, early detection and diagnostic program that is celebrating 20 years of screening low income, uninsured, and medically underserved women for breast and cervical cancer. The ads also send the message that when it comes to increasing your odds of surviving cancer, access to evidence-based early detection tools is critical.
The ads reference the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (NBCCEDP), which has a track record of reducing deaths from breast and cervical cancer. The program has provided more than 9 million screening exams to more than 3 million women and diagnosed more than 40,000 cases of breast cancer and more than 2,000 cases of cervical cancer since it launched in 1990. But with limited funding, the program is able to serve fewer than 1 in 5 eligible women.
“Proven screening tools like mammography and Pap tests are critical to detecting cancer at its earliest stages when it is easier to treat and survive,” said Christopher W. Hansen, president of ACS CAN, the advocacy affiliate of the American Cancer Society. “Lawmakers need to level the playing field for low-income and uninsured Americans and make funding for this successful screening and diagnostic program a reality.”
The print ad, which will run in targeted media markets across the country beginning today and throughout the month, features a blindfolded woman beside text that reads, “We can’t fight cancer if we can’t see it.” The ad goes on to say, “When it comes to cancer, screening is seeing… It's time to take the blindfolds off and to stop cancer before it starts.” Online advertising that features the “Screening is Seeing” theme will also run this month.
Congress showed its commitment to making prevention and early detection a national priority by including an increase for the NBCCEDP in FY 2011, funding bills approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee. But even with increases, funding continues to fall short of the program’s fully authorized level of $255 million.
“Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths among women, but studies have consistently shown that finding breast cancer early significantly reduces a woman’s risk of dying from breast cancer,” said Elizabeth T. H. Fontham, M.P.H., Dr.P.H., immediate past national volunteer president for the American Cancer Society and a breast cancer survivor. “Adequate funding for this program is crucial for it to be able to continue to provide lifesaving screenings and timely access to quality treatment.”
While the Affordable Care Act will help improve access to preventive care, it will take time to fully implement the law. In the meantime, the critical need for the NBCCEDP continues.
Access to evidence-based prevention is just one component of the fight to defeat cancer. Investment in research to discover screening tools and treatments for the deadliest cancers is equally critical. ACS CAN is also asking Congress to sustain federal funding for cancer research for the National Institutes of Health and National Cancer Institute in a way that keeps up with the increasing cost of doing research so that promising discovery isn’t stalled.
The new “Screening is Seeing” ad campaign follows an ad run in Capitol Hill publications in June that featured a father holding his infant daughter next to text that read, “Now, research continues. A father gets to hold his daughter. Later, research stops. So does his life.”
According to a national nonpartisan poll conducted by ACS CAN, nearly two-thirds of families affected by cancer say they would be more likely to vote to re-elect a lawmaker who advocates for cancer research and programs. More than 80 percent of respondents said they support increasing the federal tobacco tax to fund the effort. ACS CAN volunteers across the country plan to spend the August congressional recess holding events and meeting with lawmakers in districts around the country to urge them to increase funding for both cancer prevention programs and research.
To view the “Screening is Seeing” print ad, visit http://bit.ly/c5rDgB.
To view a copy of the recent ACS CAN publication Decades of Detection: Progress and Challenges of the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening and Treatment Program, visit http://acscan.org/pdf/breastcancer/dod-report.pdf.
To view the earlier research ad campaign, visit http://bit.ly/9BUj8Y.
For a summary of the polling results, visit www.acscan.org/cancerpoll.
ACS CAN is the nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate organization of the American Cancer Society, dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem. ACS CAN works to encourage lawmakers, candidates and government officials to support laws and policies that will make cancer a top national priority. ACS CAN gives ordinary people extraordinary power to fight cancer. For more information, visit www.acscan.org.