Missourians meet with lawmakers to make cancer issues a priority

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JEFFERSON CITY - Over one hundred Missourians from the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACSCAN) are meeting with lawmakers Wednesday to discuss bringing more cancer-related issues to the forefront. The volunteers from across the state will talk one-on-one with their state representative or senator to discuss their overall priority legislative issues for the year.

The three top priority issues are raising the age limit for indoor tanning beds to 18-years-old to reduce risks of melanoma, funding for tobacco prevention programs and funding for breast and cervical cancer screenings.

Tim Freeman, Missouri Grassroots Manager for ACSCAN, said the targeted priorities came about through an outstanding change in statistics for each cause.

"Unfortunately, the melanoma rate has doubled here since 2007 and Missouri is the lowest funded state when it comes to tobacco prevention," he said.

Freeman said the volunteers will continue to contact with their lawmakers to make sure that their issues are being prioritized.

"We'll just continue to monitor and make sure that the funding for the Show-Me-State Healthy Women Screening and the Tobacco Prevention Program are both being included in the budget process, and if we see any changes, we'll make sure to have our volunteers follow up with the lawmakers," Freeman said.

Freeman added the personal stories of each person are the most important part of this process.

"When these issues do come up for a vote, the lawmakers are not just going to remember a bill number or an issue; what they're going to remember are the stories that go along with those bills and those issues that constituents took the time to come to Jefferson City to talk to them about," he said.

For more information about the Missouri Cancer Action Center, go here.