Accessible health care needed to lower cancer death rates

The American Cancer Society has recently produced an ad campaign stressing the need of adequate quality health care for Americans in order to lower cancer death rates. Among the poorly insured and uninsured, cancer is most often detected at an advanced stage, too frequently proving fatal. The American Cancer Society’s goals of reducing cancer death and incidence rates by 2015, beginning in 1990, will not be met unless access to screening and treatment becomes available to all patients. The society’s chief executive stated that, “lack of access will be a bigger cancer killer than tobacco,” unless the health care system is amended. The delay in diagnosing poorly or uninsured patients causes them to bear the costs of more expensive and difficult treatments. Within families afflicted with cancer, one in four will use most or all of their savings, including one in five insured families, to fight the disease. 47 million Americans do not have health insurance, and millions more only have limited coverage. Access to health care for all Americans will lower cancer death rates, among innumerable other health ailments.

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