More than 1.7 million Americans will be newly diagnosed with cancer in 2019, but a report from the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) shows both Maryland and Washington, D.C., are making strides to bring that number down.
The annual “How Do You Measure Up?” report, now in its 17th year, looks at eight policies state and local governments can implement to reduce cancer incidence and death, including access to care and prevention efforts.
Both Maryland and D.C. meet four of ACS CAN’s policy goals in this year’s report; Virginia meets two.
This year, Maryland passed legislation that raises the tobacco sales age to 21. Forty percent of all cancers diagnosed in the U.S. are linked to tobacco use, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and more than 27% of cancer deaths in Maryland are directly attributed to smoking, said Jocelyn Collins, Maryland government relations director at ACS CAN.
Maryland also recently passed legislation that prohibits the use of indoor tanning devices for those under 18. Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the U.S., and research shows that using tanning beds before age 35 can increase one’s risk for melanoma, the deadliest type of skin cancer, by nearly 60%.
D.C. passed legislation with the same age restrictions for both tobacco sales and indoor tanning in previous years.
Providing pain care for cancer patients and funding tobacco control initiatives are two policy areas that need improvement in D.C. and Maryland, according to the report.
Virginia, which scores high on increased access to Medicaid and pain care, received low marks for funding related to smoking prevention, control and cessation programs, as well as tanning regulations.
As part of Maryland Matters’ content sharing agreement with WTOP, we feature this article from Rachel Nania. Click here for the WTOP News website.
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