Lobbying to reduce cancer

HASTINGS, Neb. - (KSNB) Nebraska is showing improvement, but has room to grow, when it comes to public policy aimed at preventing cancer. That's according to results of a study by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, the advocacy affiliate of the American Cancer Society.

in a release from ACS CAN, the annual report, How Do You Measure Up? A Progress Report on State Legislative Activity to Reduce Cancer Incidence and Mortality, now in its 17th year, illustrates where states stand on issues that play a critical role in reducing cancer incidence and death. The report measures eight specific policy actions that state legislatures can take to fight cancer – saving lives and money in their state, focusing on issues relating to tobacco control policies, cancer prevention and improving access to care.

Nick Faustman is the Nebraska Government Relations Director for the organization. He says the study provides direction for where states are in enacting cancer policies in their state legislatures.

"if states can enact a lot of those policies," said Faustman, "we can help reduce the number of lives lost to the disease."

Faustman says 9700 Nebraskans will be newly diagnosed with cancer this year and 3500 will die from the disease.

One area being targeted in Nebraska is melanoma and the link between that cancer and the use of indoor tanning facilities.

"We hope to pass a bill this year that would prohibit an individual below the age of 18 from using the indoor tanning devices," said Faustman.

The organization says that studies have shown that using an indoor tanning device before the age of 35 increases the risk of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, by 59%.