More than 150 cancer patients, survivors and caregivers from across Ohio will travel to the statehouse in Columbus on Thursday to meet with state lawmakers about the need to support cancer-related issues in the state budget and funding to help Ohioans quit or avoid using tobacco.
The visit is part of the annual American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network Lobby Day, which will bring cancer survivors and volunteers from nearly every district to call on the Ohio General Assembly to take steps to make cancer a priority.
Among those attending are longtime ACS advocate Barb Wilinski of Steubenville, advocacy act lead for legislative district 6. She will be joined by Kyle Elder, co-chair of the Steubenville Area Relay for Life sponsored by the Jefferson County Unit of the ACS, and ACS staff partner Bethani Barsch among others.
"As a cancer survivor, I know first-hand how difficult dealing with a diagnosis can be," said ACS CAN state lead ambassador Anne Creech of Holland. "By focusing on the need for breast and cervical cancer screening and tobacco prevention, we can make a difference for Ohioans. I will be traveling to Columbus to talk with my lawmaker about the importance of these issues so that together we can save lives."
Specifically, Ohio ACS CAN volunteers will ask the legislature to:
Close the loophole on other tobacco products (OTP) tax by increasing the tax rate from 17 percent of wholesale to 55 percent of the wholesale price, to make it comparable to the current cigarette tax.
Support funding in House Bill 59 for breast and cervical cancer screenings for low-income, uninsured women; programs to help Ohioans quit tobacco or prevent them from ever starting to use it; and federal funding so that low-income, hard-working Ohioans have access to affordable health care when the need it, according to a news release.
"We are meeting with our lawmakers as representatives of the thousands of people in Ohio who suffer from cancer every day, said ACS CAN Vice State Lead Ambassador Lorna Hill of Massillon. "Even in these tough economic times, Ohio lawmakers should commit to protecting funds that make tests and treatments more available and supporting laws that will help protect our young people from the dangers of tobacco use. These policies would ensure that we can continue to look forward to new successes in the fight against cancer."
While in Columbus, cancer advocates and the public also will have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to participate in the ACS' Cancer Prevention Study-3 (CPS-3) enrollment, which will be held at the Riffe Center on Thursday. CPS-3 aims to enroll 300,000 adults from across the country to help determine the genetic, environmental and lifestyle factors that can cause or prevent cancer. To enroll, adults must be between 30 and 65 years old and never have been diagnosed with cancer other than skin cancer. To learn more or to sign up, visit columbuscps3.org.
An estimated 66,610 new cases of cancer will be diagnosed in Ohio this year, and more than 25,000 Ohioans will lose their fight against cancer.
Providing all Ohioans with access to cancer screenings, adequate health care and resources to quit tobacco use are some of the most effective ways to diminish the death and suffering caused from the disease, according to the news release.
ACS CAN is the nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate organization of the American Cancer Society, dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem. ACS CAN works to encourage lawmakers, candidates and government officials to support laws and policies that will make cancer a top national priority.
For information, visit www.acscan. org.