American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network
We are the nation's leading cancer advocacy organization, empowering volunteers to call on Congress and state governments to make fighting cancer a top priority. We provide the tools, training and resources allowing any person impacted by cancer to lobby lawmakers and help eradicate this terrible disease.
Started 4 petitions
We need better access to cancer screenings during COVID
This petition comes from Sarah Kaehny, a cancer survivor and volunteer with the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network. We’ve all been impacted in some way by the COVID-19 pandemic. For me, the pandemic meant that I lost my dream job, my health insurance, and the ability to afford the health care I need as a cancer survivor. In 2012, I was diagnosed with stage 3 sarcoma. Is cancer scary? Sure. But the financial stress of health care is almost as bad as any diagnosis. After radiation and multiple surgeries, I am currently cancer-free. To make sure I stay that way, my doctor recommends I get a cancer scan every three months. For years, I’ve been diligent about getting these procedures. But when the coronavirus pandemic hit, I was laid off from my job. Once unemployed, I couldn’t afford the COBRA health insurance from my former employer. As a cancer survivor, not having health insurance scared the crap out of me. To be in a situation where you have to choose between food and bills, and your health care, you choose food and bills. Keep food on the table, keep the heat on. But that meant that I had to skip the regular cancer scan that my oncologist recommended. No one should have to make this kind of decision, but I know that I’m not the only one. In fact, from February to mid-April of 2020, the rate of some cancer screenings fell by over 80 percent. Congress is currently working on a COVID relief bill, and they are considering including subsidies for COBRA insurance for people who have lost their jobs due to the pandemic. This could actually lower the cost of health care premiums for tens of thousands of people, including cancer survivors like me. If this had passed months ago, I would have been able to keep my health insurance and avoid the stress of waiting to know if my cancer had returned. Please join me in asking Congress to include this provision and support lowering the cost of quality health insurance. Cancer survivors like me can’t wait.
Support cancer patients during coronavirus
Cancer isn’t stopping just because of the coronavirus. Overflowing hospitals. Closed clinics. Delayed treatment. Cancelled surgeries. The challenges for cancer patients to get the lifesaving care they need has never been greater. By itself, cancer is hard enough. That’s why we’re asking your members of Congress to include some critical provisions in the next coronavirus relief bill that is being negotiated in the House and Senate. Will you join us in asking Congress to support people impacted by cancer at this critical time? Cancer patients and survivors need your members of Congress to support the inclusion of these provisions in the upcoming package: An opportunity for cancer patients, survivors and others who have lost their job or need health insurance to have a special opportunity to enroll in an Affordable Care Act health insurance plan. Without this, they may not have access to affordable health care during this critical time. Make it more affordable for cancer patients to take their cancer medication at home in a pill form rather than require them to go to a health facility for an infusion if their doctor approves the change. Ensure lower-income cancer patients and survivors who can't afford private health insurance are able to enroll in their state’s Medicaid program and that it’s funded to meet the rising demand for care and treatment caused by this pandemic. These are extraordinary times. And the struggle for cancer patients to maintain their lifesaving treatment has never been greater. Please sign on today to help cancer patients get the support they need.
300,000 women die of cervical cancer every year. Congress can help stop it
The petition below comes from Ana Reyes, a cervical cancer survivor and volunteer with the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network. I was diagnosed with Stage 2 cervical cancer in December of 2015, when I was 36 years old. At the time I was a single mother to two young children, ages 6 and 8. To combat my diagnosis, I had multiple surgeries, 6 rounds of chemo, 28 rounds of external radiation and 3 rounds of internal radiation. I had a radical hysterectomy and the option of having more children taken away from me. I had to take a leave of absence from my job for a full year and move back in with my parents. I live with daily side effects, both physical and mental from my cervical cancer treatments. But I still consider myself lucky. There is the obvious reason to consider myself lucky … I continue to be alive. But there are other reasons as well. I am lucky because my cancer was caught at Stage 2, still relatively early. Often, cervical cancer is caught and treated even earlier than Stage 2. This is due to cancer screenings that are widely available in the U.S. and even covered by health insurance. This isn’t true everywhere in the world. In many parts of the world, cervical cancer often isn’t diagnosed until it’s too late. This doesn’t sit right with me. We have the tools to make my generation the last to ever have to battle cervical cancer. Yet more women are dying from this disease every year. Last year, 312,000 women died from cervical cancer worldwide. Without action, that will increase by 2040 to a staggering 459,000 women projected to die from a disease that is actually preventable. And this shouldn’t sit right with you, either, especially if you have a mother, a sister, a daughter, a wife or a girlfriend. That’s why I’m asking for your signature today to urge your U.S. Senators to support dedicated funding in this year’s global health budget to help eliminate deaths from cervical cancer worldwide. Cervical cancer was once one of the most common causes of cancer death for American women. But regular screenings and early treatment have changed that. Today, approximately 90% of cervical cancer deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries because the women in these countries don’t have access to these services. This is completely unacceptable. It is our responsibility to take what we know about prevention, screening and treatment to help save the lives of women in other countries. I am lucky because my children will likely never have to face this disease. They have both received the HPV vaccination, which prevents cervical cancer as well as six other types of cancer. This vaccine was easy for me to get for my children and was fully covered by my insurance. All children everywhere in the world should have this same opportunity. Even though the World Health Organization cites the HPV vaccine as one of the most cost-effective cancer prevention methods out there, most girls living in low- or middle-income countries don’t have access to the vaccine. I got cervical cancer. But I am lucky that I got cervical cancer in the U.S. and that I had health insurance to cover the costs. I am lucky that because of where I live my cervical cancer was found at an early stage. I am lucky that my children have access to the HPV vaccine so that they will never have to fight the cancer I did. With vaccination, screening and treatment, virtually ALL death from cervical cancer worldwide can be eliminated. Cervical cancer shouldn’t be a death sentence in any country. Please stand with me in urging members of the U.S. Senate to support dedicated funding in this year’s global health budget, and take a bold step toward eliminating cervical cancer once and for all.
Pass the STAR Act for my daughter Rhyan, a 6-year old cancer survivor
The petition below comes from Brad Loos, a volunteer with the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network whose daughter was diagnosed with cancer. It’s like a bomb that’s dropped on you. My daughter Rhyan went from playing in the cul-de-sac to being diagnosed with stage four cancer. All in 48 hours. Rhyan had always been outgoing and loved school. When she was five years old, we started noticing that something was off with her and we weren’t sure why. Then she started limping on and off, so we took her to the doctor. Multiple doctors and many tests later, we found out that Rhyan had stage four neuroblastoma, or in other words, cancer all over her body. Rhyan was treated at Sloan Kettering in New York City, far from our Missouri home. Even though Sloan Kettering is on the cutting-edge for cancer treatment and research, it was scary. With cancer, and with childhood cancer in particular, there are so many unknowns. The doctors don’t know what’s going to happen. Our kids are the guinea pigs, and while we’re learning more every single day, we still just don’t know. For a while, Rhyan was doing well. There was no sign of cancer. Months later, she started having headaches, and we learned that the cancer had come back. This time it was a brain tumor. So, we started the whole thing again: surgery, chemo, radiation, immunotherapy. More than 14,500 children will be diagnosed with cancer this year. The survival rate for kids with cancer is going up every day, but there’s still too much we have to learn. We need to know more about the causes of cancer in children and how to treat it. Treatments we’re currently using often have long-term side effects on kids. Too often, we’re putting kids’ lives at risk to save their lives from cancer. We can – and must – do better than that. Today, Rhyan is doing well and there is no sign of the disease in her body. But she still has side effects from the treatments. She’s going to wear hearing aids for the rest of her life because of the treatments that saved her life. Every time she gets sick, we worry the cancer has come back. You can see the impact in other ways, too. My daughter is no longer as carefree as her friends. Kids who suffer from cancer lose a lot of their childhood in the process. Congress will be voting on the STAR Act sometime soon – possibly within days of you reading this. The STAR Act is the first step to getting more dedicated funding for childhood cancer research. It also allows for better sharing of childhood cancer data among doctors and medical systems. Because when a place like Sloan Kettering learns something new, our local Missouri hospital should know about it. We still have a long way to go in terms of understanding pediatric cancers the way we understand adult cancers. Please sign this petition and tell Congress to take the next step in making this happen. Pass the STAR Act immediately.