HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH)– Cancer is a killer, claiming hundreds of thousands of lives in this nation every year. Tuesday at the state capitol, cancer survivors and volunteers joined forces calling on lawmakers to step-up funding to fight the disease.
“I’m here for me, I’m a cancer survivor,” said Lynne Peters, at the podium.
Dozens of people like Lynne came to Hartford to talk to their legislators about something very important to them – cancer.
“Who can look at you and say they’re not behind getting rid of cancer?” said Peters.
That’s the point of having people who dealt with cancer or whose loved ones did, lobbying their legislators about the things government can do to help.
“My son is alive because he had a stem cell transplant when he was 20. So he’s 19 years cancer free,” said Betty Berger.
Of course no politician is going to say he’s pro-cancer, but there’s only so much money to go around, so Tuesday’s lobbyists have a list of things they’d like the state to do. On the top of the list: cut down on the use of tobacco and e-cigarettes, too.
“The governor recently announced a bill that would hopefully ban the sale of e-cigarettes to minors,” said Dr. Andrew Salner, Hartford Hospital.
“Increasing the amount of money that the state spends on tobacco control programs. To establish nutritional standards for kids in child care settings,” said Bryte Johnson, American Cancer Society.
They also want more education about the importance of sunscreen and the dangers of tanning.
“We hope the decreased use of tanning beds which are shown to cause skin cancer and melanoma in young people who are so exposed,” said Salner.
There’s also the problem that cancers in women that can be caught and treated are not, simply because so many women can’t afford the tests. That’s what Lynne tells her legislators.
“My cancer was caught early because I was able to get a pap smear with my yearly exams. There are about 30,000 women in Connecticut who can’t do that. They can’t afford it,” said Peters.
That is one of the biggest problems Connecticut has the wealth disparity, people with money get tested, people without money don’t, and cancer is more likely to kill them. In the dozen years since the state and experts started working together on a cancer plan, they have succeeded in bringing down those mortality rates.