JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – April 11, 2018 – Nearly ninety cancer survivors, caregivers and advocates from across the state traveled to the Missouri State Capitol today to call on the General Assembly to make cancer a top legislative priority. Coaches from four state colleges joined volunteers in representation of the Coaches vs. Cancer initiative, a nationwide collaboration between the American Cancer Society and the National Association of Basketball Coaches.
The visit was part of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network’s annual Day at the Capitol, in which coaches and advocates urged lawmakers to implement proven strategies to prevent cancer. The four participating coaches were Bob Burchard, head men’s basketball coach and director of athletics at Columbia College; Matt Mitchell, men’s basketball coach and director of athletics at Westminster College; John Moseley, head men’s basketball coach and director of athletics at Lincoln University; and Suzy Thompson, cheerleading coach and mascot coordinator at University of Missouri.
“Cancer death rates continue to decrease nationwide, but we still haven’t fully implemented proven ways to prevent the disease in the first place,” said Mark Runyan, a lead ACS CAN volunteer from Eldon. “More than 13,000 Missourians will still lose their lives to cancer in 2018 alone. We’re here today to ask lawmakers to pass policies that protect against known causes of cancer, like tanning and tobacco use, and to preserve access to screenings and treatment.”
Specifically, ACS CAN volunteers asked lawmakers to:
- Preserve funding for tobacco cessation services. Currently, Missouri allocates just $109,000 for statewide tobacco prevention and cessation programs – less than one percent of the Centers for Disease Control’s recommended funding level. Comprehensive, adequately funded tobacco control programs reduce tobacco use, resulting in lower health care costs and fewer deaths from tobacco-related illnesses like cancer.
- Prohibit minors under age 18 from using indoor tanning devices. Skin cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the United States and rates have continued to rise over the past 30 years. Approximately 1,800 Missourians will be diagnosed this year with melanoma – the deadliest form of skin cancer. Laws that prohibit young people under age 18 from using tanning devices are effective in deterring minors from ever using them and help reduce skin cancer rates across the country.
- Protect funding for breast and cervical cancer screenings for low-income women. Women who lack access to health care coverage are more likely to have their cancer detected at a later stage, when the disease is deadlier and more expensive to treat. To address that, Missouri’s Show Me Healthy Women program connects uninsured and underinsured women with free breast and cervical cancer screenings. Protecting funding for the program is critical to ensuring women receive lifesaving cancer services before their disease progresses.
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.