Cancer Patients and Survivors Rally Legislators Virtually Due to COVID-19

(INDIANAPOLIS) – The unpredictable and dynamic nature of COVID-19 is no match for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network’s (ACS CAN) volunteers’ steadfast commitment.

Because of the virus and the elevated risk for those with compromised immune systems, cancer patients, survivors, and caregivers from across the state traveled virtually to the state capitol this week to meet with Indiana’s lawmakers about the need to preserve funding the state’s Breast and Cervical Cancer Program.

Lisa Hayes

“Cancer hasn’t stopped. So, neither will we. As a cancer survivor, I let my lawmakers know if we’re going to eliminate cancer as a major health problem in Indiana, this goal must be top of mind for our legislature,” said Lisa Hayes, ACS CAN volunteer. “As someone who received lifesaving support from the Indiana Breast and Cervical Cancer Program, I am asking lawmakers to preserve the funding for this program.”

Throughout the week, the volunteers heard from experts in the prevention and care of breast and cervical cancer, including Dr. Megan Buechel, a gynecologic oncologist at Ascension, and Mary Heck, executive director of United Health Services. This organization provides BCCP services to Hoosier women.

Specifically, the Indiana volunteers asked the legislature to:

Breast and Cervical Cancer Project Funding: preserving state funding for the Indiana Department of Health’s Breast and Cervical Cancer Prevention Program. This program helps fill the health care coverage gap by providing low-income, uninsured and underinsured women access to mammograms and cervical cancer screenings. The impacts of COVID-19 make this program more critical than ever. By increasing access to care, the state can reduce the number of Indiana residents who will hear “you have cancer.”

Even as we face this pandemic, every day, an estimated 107 Hoosiers hear the words “you have cancer” for the first time and 13,460 in the state are expected to die from this devastating disease this year. Those gathered this week called on Indiana lawmakers to change this by taking steps to make the fight against Cancer a priority.