Cancer Votes

Capitol Building 2013by Joanna Morales, CEO, Triage Cancer
(Written in the halls of Congress)

I have spent the last few days in Washington, D.C. with the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network for National Lobby Day.  Having been an active advocate and a volunteer for many cancer-related advocacy programs for years, I felt right at home: heading right for the cafeteria in the Longworth House Office Building between meetings, stopping in the House of Representatives gift shop to see if they had anything new (they didn’t, of course), and not getting lost in the tunnels between buildings.

I couldn’t help but be reminded of the history in the halls and the power that the individuals working here have over our lives.  But we have power, too.  Especially as we see the outcomes of elections get closer and closer – being won and lost by only a few votes.

Every vote really does make a difference and who you vote for to represent your voice matters.  We are seeing states deciding whether or not to expand health care coverage based on just one vote – it may be the vote of your elected official!

Cancer is a political issue, but it is not a partisan one.  Cancer does not discriminate but it does affect us all.  There are more than 13.7 million cancer survivors in the U.S. today.  More than 1.6 million people in the U.S. are expected to be diagnosed this year.  Sadly, 580,000 people in the U.S. will die of cancer this year.

We must continue the fight against cancer and legislative advocacy is just one weapon that we can use to end this disease.  Legislative advocacy has a role in the:

  • Availability of screening and treatment options;
  • Adequacy of health insurance coverage;
  • Training the next generation of health care professionals and scientists;
  • Funding of scientific research;
  • Safety and availability of medications; and
  • Quality of life of cancer survivors and caregivers.

Participating in legislative advocacy efforts doesn’t have to be time consuming.  Consider these steps, below:

If you aren’t already registered to vote, click here to find out how here.

If you don’t know who your elected officials are, click here to find out here.

If you want to communicate with your elected officials over Twitter, click here to see a list of the Twitter handles for Members of Congress.

If you want to get more involved in advocacy, consider joining one of these cancer-related advocacy groups listed on this page.

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