August 30, 2014

Cancer agency fears federal funding cuts for screenings, research

In this season of national political conventions, the American Cancer Society is kicking off a campaign to educate Nebraska voters and U.S. Senate candidates about the importance of access to health care and medical screenings.

Kathi Hansen is a spokeswoman for the agency’s Cancer Action Network.

“It’s important for people to be able to get screenings with fewer barriers, whether it’s cost barriers or other access barriers, just because there aren’t enough providers,” Hansen says. “Those are the kinds of things we’re concerned about but it’s always through the eyes of the cancer patients.”

More than one in every five deaths (22%) in Nebraska are cancer-related.

As federal officials work to trim the budget, alarms are also being sounded that vital medical research funding is at risk of being slashed.

Hansen says a loss of federal dollars for cancer research is a major concern.

“Funding hasn’t kept up with the rate of inflation,” Hansen says. “There could be better treatments or cures or preventive techniques that are in a lab somewhere that may never get out to the public if funding is cut off or reduced.”

It’s estimated nearly 3,400 Nebraskans will die from cancer this year while 8,700 new cases will be diagnosed.

Hansen encourages Nebraskans to sign the online petition to show candidates the importance of the funding issue. The site is www.cancervotes.org.