How is New York State ranking on its Cancer-Fighting Public Policies? The American Cancer Society recently released a progress report on State Legislative Activity to prevent cancer and mortality. It shows that New York State scored highly in just four out of the nine areas of public policy. ACS State Government Relations Director Julie Hart says despite the progress the state has achieved, New York still needs improvement in the fight against cancer.
“We’ve made great progress, but there seems to be this misconception that we, ‘won the war on tobacco’, so the state really needs to take another look at that and make a serious investment. We invest $39 million in our tobacco control program, the CDC says we need to invest $203 million. So we fall really short of where we need to be when it comes to protecting New Yorkers from tobacco companies.”
Hart says one of the ways state officials can increase New York’s score is by adding more funding to tobacco prevention programs and expanding Medicaid coverage to those attempting to stop smoking. She adds that Tobacco isn’t the only problem-area for New York. Indoor tanning beds is another major concern for the American Cancer Society.
“For our indoor tanning measure, they should have a law that protects all kids under the age of 18 from dangerous indoor tanning devices. And the reason being is that it’s carcinogenic, it causes cancer just like tobacco causes cancer, so for that New York State got a red.”
The color indicates that it’s a bad rating. Hart says if someone uses tanning beds before the age of 35 it’s been proven to increase their chances of getting Melanoma by 59%. She says in New York State alone, over 107,000 people will be diagnosed with cancer this year alone. Fortunately, Hart says New York State ranked high in cancer care.
“We invest $19 million in our cancer services program and that program provides free breast, cervical, and colorectal cancer screenings. It’s for women and men of a certain age group and they have to be uninsured or underinsured and at a certain income level.”
Hart says there is no one policy that can fix all of these issues but each one contributes to helping people live a healthier lifestyle and giving them the access to the care they need. For more information go to acscan.org