LETTERS

How does Rhode Island measure up in fight against cancer?

Posted

To the Editor:

In the last two decades, we have seen a 25 percent drop in the cancer death rate. But our work is not complete. Research suggests that roughly half of all cancer deaths can be prevented if we avoid tobacco, get physical activity, eat a healthy diet and get regular, recommended cancer screenings. In order to do this, people need access to services that help them quit tobacco, get exercise and access the care they need. That’s where lawmakers come in. Our local and state policymakers play a crucial role in the fight against cancer by passing laws that help reduce the toll of the disease – which will claim over 2,100 lives in Rhode Island this year alone. 

Rhode Island is getting mixed reviews on legislative efforts to combat cancer, according to American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network’s 15th annual report, How Do You Measure Up?: A Progress Report on State Legislative Activity to Reduce Cancer Incidence and Mortality. The report evaluates each state’s legislative activity on issues such as access to care, cancer prevention and tobacco control. Rhode Island only measured up in five of nine critical benchmarks measured in the report. 

One of the most important things lawmakers can do to improve the state’s efforts to prevent and fight the devastating effects of cancer, is to increase funding for the state’s tobacco control program. Unfortunately, Rhode Island is only budgeting less than three percent of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) recommended funding level – despite knowing that an increased investment in this program would result in long term healthcare costs savings of nearly $18.9 million. 

State policymakers must act now. We cannot miss opportunities to enact policies that could save money and, most importantly, save lives.

Karen McCahey 

American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network Volunteer (ACS CAN)

Johnston

Comments

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JohnStark

As a non-smoker, it's always interesting to me how the anti-tobacco lobby seeks to "...fight the devastating effects of cancer", "...increase funding", and "avoidance" of tobacco, but never seeks an outright ban on tobacco sales. Could it be that a ban on tobacco sales would result in the elimination of taxes generated from said sales, and thereby all but eliminate funding for outfits such as the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network Volunteer and similar organizations?

Wednesday, August 23
Karen12584

@John Stark I agree with you on an outright ban on cigarettes. The cigarette companies have to much influence to get them banned. I am a breast cancer survivor and a volunteer the American Cancer Society does not pay me.

You may email me directly at Karen12584@gmail.com

Saturday, August 26
JustHope

I couldn't agree more. We've known for decades the cancer causing substances in tobacco, yet despite the ravages cigarette smoking causes to the body, as well as the expense of chronic care to cancer patients, cigarettes remain legal. And where did all those billions of dollars from the Tobacco Settlement end up?

Those funds were supposed to be directed toward anti smoking education. And the band plays on.

Saturday, September 2