I recently returned from Washington D.C. after participating in the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network’s Leadership Summit and Lobby Day. I had the privilege to meet with staff members from both Rep. Larsen and Sen. Murray’s offices, as well as meeting with Sen. Cantwell. We discussed a number of issues aimed at making cancer a national priority.
The first was quality of life/palliative care for cancer patients and their families. Palliative care is a growing field backed by research that improves the outcomes of a patient’s survival. I asked my representative to co-sponsor two bills that support research and education in the field of palliative care.
In addition, we asked for an increase in the federal tobacco tax of .94 cents. Raising the tobacco tax is one of the most effective ways of reducing youth smoking. This increase will have a cost savings to our country of more than $65 billion in long term health costs and will also raise $78 billion in revenue.
Finally, we asked that funding for cancer research and prevention programs not be reduced. Due to sequestration, we are in a very real danger of turning back the clock by nearly a decade and losing the progress we have already made should funding to the National Institutes of Health and the National Cancer Institute not be restored.
As a cancer survivor, I speak for those who fought hard but ultimately lost their battle to cancer. I am alive today because my treatment was made possible by research. I want to ensure that others who are in the fight have more birthdays and a better quality of life.