Alaska is falling behind when it comes to supporting policies and passing legislation to prevent and reduce suffering and death from cancer. According to the latest edition of How Do You Measure Up?: A Progress Report on State Legislative Activity to Reduce Cancer Incidence and Mortality, Alaska measured up to policy recommendations in two of the nine issue areas ranked. The report was released today by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN).
“We’ve made tremendous progress in the way we diagnose and treat cancer across the country. But to leverage this progress, Alaska legislators must take advantage of the opportunities to pass evidence-based laws and policies that are proven to save lives and money,” said ACS CAN Alaska Government Relations Director Emily Nenon. “In Alaska alone in 2015, 3,700 people will be diagnosed with cancer and 1,000 will die from it. We can’t wait to take action when the stakes are that high. This report outlines ways lawmakers can make a difference by emphasizing cancer prevention, curbing tobacco use and prioritizing quality of life for patients and their families.”
How Do You Measure Up? rates states in nine specific areas of public policy that can help fight cancer, including smoke-free laws, tobacco tax levels, funding for tobacco prevention and cessation programs and cessation coverage under Medicaid, funding for cancer screening programs and restricting indoor tanning devices for minors. The report also looks at whether or not a state has said yes to federal funds available to increase access to care through its Medicaid program, has passed policies proven to increase patient quality of life and offers a well-balanced approach to pain medications.