American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network report shows La. falls short

BATON ROUGE - “Our state legislators can play an important role in the war against cancer by passing legislation that can help reduce the toll this disease takes on our state and save lives,” said Amber Stevens, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network volunteer state lead ambassador for Louisiana. “We all have a responsibility to fight back against a disease that kills 8,480 in Louisiana each year by enacting laws and policies that eliminate barriers for the proper diagnosis, treatment and care of cancer patients.

During the 2010 legislative session, cancer advocates sought $1.5 million in funding for the Louisiana FITCo colon cancer project, but during budget negotiations that amount was reduced to $75,000. Advocates also fought to maintain $700,000 in funding for the state’s Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program which was restored after funding was cut from LSU’s hospital budget.

Louisiana was rated using a color coded system. Green represents the benchmark position with good policies and practices. Yellow indicates moderate movement toward the benchmark. Red shows that the state is falling short of meeting goals.

Several important programs rated in the yellow or red range. In the red range were funding, support, and educational programs for the uninsured, tobacco prevention funding, and tobacco tax rates. In the yellow range was the funding of the breast and cervical cancer early detection programs.

Louisiana’s funding, support, and educational programs for colorectal screening coverage rated green.

There have been advances in the cancer programs since the report was released but there still remains plenty of space for improvement. In 2010 more than 1.5 million people in the United States will be diagnosed with cancer and more than than 569,000 people will die from the disease. In Louisiana alone, 20,950 people will be diagnosed with cancer and another 8,480 will die of the disease.

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