Saturday, August 5, 2017

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Report gives New York mixed grades on cancer-fighting public policies

ALBANY – New York State is making progress when it comes to supporting policies and passing legislation to prevent and reduce suffering and death from cancer however the state falls short in some areas.  According to the latest edition of How Do You Measure Up?:  A Progress Report on State Legislative Activity to Reduce Cancer Incidence and Mortality,  New York State measured up to policy recommendations in just four of the nine issue areas ranked. The report was released by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN).

“This 15th edition of the report shows just how far we’ve come in the last decade and a half passing policies proven to reduce suffering and death from cancer,” said ACS CAN New York Government Relations Director Julie Hart.  “But now is certainly not the time to rest on our laurels,” This year alone in New York State, more than 107,000 people will be diagnosed with cancer. We owe it to them and everyone at risk of developing the disease, to do what we know works to prevent cancer and improve access to screenings and treatment. This report shows lawmakers a legislative path forward to improve cancer prevention efforts, curb tobacco use, prioritize the quality of life for patients and their families and increase access to critical health coverage.”

Passing and implementing the policy recommendations in the report would not only save lives in New York State, but also save millions in long-term health care costs and in some cases would even generate additional, much-needed revenue.

How Do You Measure Up? rates states in nine specific areas of public policy that can help fight cancer.  A color-coded system classifies how well a state is doing in each issue. Green shows that a state has adopted evidence-based policies and best practices; yellow indicates moderate movement toward the benchmark and red shows where states are falling short. 

How New York State Measures Up:

  • Cigarette Tax Rates - Green
  • Smoke-free Laws - Green
  • Increased Access to Medicaid - Green
  • Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program Funding - Green
  • Medicaid Coverage of Tobacco Cessation Services - Yellow
  • Pain Policy - Yellow
  • Access to Palliative Care - Yellow
  • Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Program Funding - Red
  • Indoor Tanning Device Use Restrictions - Red

According to the report, New York also needs to do more when it comes to funding its tobacco control program.   While New York has made strides in reducing smoking rates, over 28,000 New Yorkers die each year from tobacco-caused illnesses.  The CDC recommends the state spend $203 million on their comprehensive tobacco control program.

“New York falls far short and allocates just $39.3 million to help smokers quit and to keep kids from beginning this deadly addiction,” said Hart.  “This is a fraction of the CDC recommendation.”

 

 


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