According to a new report by the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Action Network, Delaware leads the nation in enacting cancer laws and policies that save lives and money.

The report titled, “How Do You Measure Up? A Progress Report on State Legislative Activity to Reduce Cancer Incidence and Mortality,” ranks Delaware the highest in state policies in five cancer priority areas: breast and cervical cancer early detection program funding; colorectal screening coverage laws; smoke-free laws; online cigarettes prevention program funding and cigarettes store taxes.

Delaware leads the nation in enacting cancer laws and policies that save lives and money, according to a report by the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN). The report “How Do You Measure Up? A Progress Report on State Legislative Activity to Reduce Cancer Incidence and Mortality” ranks Delaware the highest in state policies in five cancer priority areas: breast and cervical cancer early detection program funding; colorectal screening coverage laws; smoke-free laws; tobacco prevention program funding; and tobacco taxes.

“We are moving forward in the fight against cancer,” said Governor Jack Markell. “In public policies and in personal lives, we must continually support prevention, early detection and healthy lifestyles. Many have confronted this disease with courage and we are committed to making progress in their name.”

Since its establishment in 2001, the Delaware Cancer Consortium, made up of volunteers from all walks of life, has worked with policymakers to establish innovative programs that increase access to services, improve affordability and quality of life, resulting in significant declines in cancer rates in Delaware.

“I’m pleased to learn that our policymakers’ efforts and the hard work of the Consortium continue to be recognized,” said Dr. Karyl Rattay, DPH director. “DPH will work tirelessly to maintain Delaware as a trend setter in the fight against cancer.”

Delaware’s accomplishments in the five legislative areas included in the Aug. 11 report are as follows:

1. State appropriations for breast and cervical cancer screening programs: More than half of the funding for Delaware’s breast and cervical cancer screening programs – $1,562,473 – is provided by the Delaware General Assembly. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provide $1,063,668. Because of this significant support, Delaware has seen the percentage of breast cancers diagnosed in the late stage decrease from 52 percent for 1980-1984 to 34 percent for 2003-2007.

2. Insurance coverage for colorectal cancer screening: Delaware has strong screening laws that ensure comprehensive coverage for the full range of tests. These include colonoscopy, sigmoidoscopy, mammography and clinical breast exam, Pap test, HPV test, prostate specific antigen and others. The 2010 Behavior Risk Factor Survey indicated that colorectal cancer screening rates increased by 32 percent, from 56 percent in 1999 to 74 percent in 2010. The number of colorectal cancers diagnosed in the local stage also increased from 32 percent for 1980-1984 to 39 percent for 2003-2007.

3. Smoke-free legislation at state, county and city levels: Delaware is 100 percent smoke-free in non-hospitality workplaces, restaurants, and bars.

4. Funding for tobacco prevention: Delaware’s FY 2011 state funding of $8.3 million was 59.5 percent of the CDC’s recommended funding level of $13.9 million for Delaware. Only seven states were funded at levels 50 percent or higher for their respective states.

5. Tobacco taxes: Delaware’s cigarette tax rate of $1.60 per pack is above the current average state tax of $1.46 per pack.

For more information on cancer treatment services call the Delaware Helpline at 2-1-1. Call the Delaware QuitLine, 1-866-409-1858, for help to quit smoking cigarettes.

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