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ACS CAN, the nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate headquartered in Washington, D.C., supports evidence-based policy and legislative solutions designed to eliminate cancer as a major health problem. ACS CAN works to encourage elected officials and candidates to make cancer a top national priority. ACS CAN gives ordinary people extraordinary power to fight cancer with the training and tools they need to make their voices heard.
Defeating cancer is as much a matter of public policy as of scientific discovery. Law-makers play a critical role in determining how much progress we make as a country in defeating cancer. From ensuring that all Americans have access to adequate, afford- able health insurance, to enacting laws proven to reduce tobacco consumption, to increasing funding for cancer research and programs, interaction with local, state, and federal governments is constantly required. That’s why the Society and ACS CAN work together to make cancer a top national priority by communicating with elected officials across the country through a community-based grassroots network of cancer patients, survivors, and caregivers, as well as health care professionals, public health organiza- tions, and other partners.
The importance of advocacy is underscored by the fact that it serves, along with the elimination of disparities, as a pillar supporting each of the high-impact areas iden- tified by the Society: supporting cancer research; preventing cancer and detecting it in its earliest stages; fostering better decision making through information; and improving quality of life for cancer patients, survivors, and caregivers. Despite notable progress, the uninsured, minorities, and other medically underserved populations still are not benefiting fully from advances in cancer prevention, screening, and treatment. Both the Society and ACS CAN strive to help create, change, and influence public policies that significantly reduce disparities and promote outreach to diverse communi- ties. Advocacy efforts, including those funded through Society grants to ACS CAN, are targeted within all of these areas to achieve maximum results.