SIOUX FALLS – South Dakota is falling short when it comes to passing policies to prevent and reduce suffering and death from cancer, according to a new report by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN).
A Progress Report on State Legislative Activity to Reduce Cancer Incidence and Mortality evaluates each state's activity on issues crucial to winning the fight against cancer. The report by ACS CAN, the advocacy affiliate of the American Cancer Society, finds that South Dakota measured up to benchmarks in only one of the 12 measured areas.
“Missed opportunities to pass laws fighting and preventing cancer not only limits the potential for increased state revenues and health savings, but also limits the possibilities for saving countless lives from a disease that will kill an estimated 1,610 South Dakotans this year,” said Courtney De La Rosa, South Dakota government relations director for ACS CAN.
The study, called How Do You Measure Up? grades states on 12 policy areas: breast and cervical cancer early detection program funding; tanning device restrictions for minors; physical education time requirements; smoke-free laws; tobacco prevention program funding; tobacco tax rates and increases overtime; access to tobacco cessation services in Medicaid; increased access to Medicaid; policies to prevent and treat pain; access to palliative care and restrictions on tobacco ratings, or charging tobacco users up to 50 percent higher premiums for health coverage.
A color-coded system classifies how well a state is doing in each issue. Green shows that a state has adopted evidence-based policies and best practices; yellow indicates moderate movement toward the benchmark and red shows where states are falling short.
According to the study, South Dakota received a green grade when it comes to Smoke-Free laws; the state received red marks in all other categories.
Nationally, the report finds that only one state is measuring up, meaning they are meeting the benchmark in nine or more legislative priority areas measured. Forty states land in the falling behind category, meeting benchmarks in just four or fewer of the measured issues. Just 10 states fall in the middle category meeting benchmarks in five to nine issue areas.
In 2014, it is estimated that more than 1.6 million people in the United States will be diagnosed with cancer and more than 580,000 people will die from the disease, according to the American Cancer Society. In South Dakota this year, an estimated 4,490 people will be diagnosed with cancer and 1,610 will die of the disease.
To view the complete report and details on South Dakota's grades, visit www.acscan.org.