09/25/2013 03:15 pm ET Updated Nov 24, 2013

American Cancer Society's Cancer Action Network Takes it to Congress

On September 10, 2013, the American Cancer Society's Cancer Action Network descended upon Capitol Hill to impress upon lawmakers the importance of making the fight against cancer a national priority. Over 450 volunteers from all 50 states, including 263 cancer survivors, met with 463 members of Congress to discuss ACS CAN's policy agenda.

One of this year's top priorities for the American Cancer Society's Cancer Action Network initiatives is to promote patient-centered, quality care which is designed to treat pain and other issues associated with chronic illness while increasing patient satisfaction and quality of life. Volunteers discussed the need to expand access to Palliative Care programs to help the 1.6 million Americans who will be diagnosed with cancer this year.

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As you can see, there is a growing need for palliative care programs, which may be attributed to the increasing number of people living with chronic illness in the United States and the need for education and training of healthcare providers is rapidly growing as well. In addition to providing a better quality of care to patients, studies have also shown this to be a cost-effective solution.

ACS CAN volunteers discussed a proposal to further reduce tobacco use nationwide by increasing the federal tobacco tax. It is estimated that increasing the federal tobacco tax would prevent 1.74 million American children from becoming addicted smokers. The proposal is estimated to produce over $78 billion and save approximately $64 billion in long-term healthcare cost savings in the United States.

Volunteers also advocated ending the automatic federal spending cuts known as sequestration. This will protect funding for cancer research and screening programs that will save countless lives.

You would be hard pressed to find anyone who has not been directly affected by cancer in one way or another. That being said, most people have a vested interested in seeing cancer abolished for good. The only way to achieve that is through continued cancer research and early detection!

Those of you who follow my work know this topic is near and dear to my heart and I am inspired by the hard work of these dedicated volunteers. If you would like to get involved with the good people at ACS CAN, please contact 202-661-5700 or go to for additional information about how you can help in the continuing fight against cancer.

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