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Cancer advocacy group lobbies in Lansing

Volunteers from Karmanos’ Prostate Cancer Advocacy Program (PCAP) spent the day in Lansing on Tuesday, April 22, 2014, lobbying legislators to restore funding for cancer prevention programs. The Michigan Legislature eliminated funds for prevention programs in the 2014 state budget. The PCAP group joined the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network to advocate for the restoration of $6 million in funding over the next three years, beginning with $2 million in 2015.

PCAP volunteers met with their state senators and representatives to discuss the restoration of cancer education funding. They told personal stories about how cancer has impacted their lives and discussed the importance of cancer education and outreach, particularly in communities where there is limited access to resources.

“Nine PCAP advocates joined me for Michigan Lobby Day,” said Phyllis Nelson, an educator with Karmanos’ Patient and Community Education Department. “Many of our advocates felt their meetings were productive and they got their legislators to commit, verbally or with a handshake, to vote for the restoration of funding.”

Since 1997, cancer prevention funding has fallen from a high of $7 million per year to zero in the 2014 budget. Funding has been eliminated for both the Michigan Colorectal Cancer Early Detection Program and Comprehensive Cancer Control, a collaborative that pools resources to reduce the burden of cancer through risk reduction, early detection, better treatment and enhanced survivorship. The communities that are often hardest hit by cuts to cancer prevention are those that already exhibit a disparity in cancer diagnosis and treatment.

Our thanks go to the PCAP volunteers who gave their time and energy to advocate for lifesaving cancer prevention and control programs for fellow Michiganders.

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