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Cancer Report Ranks Shows Iowa Needs Improvement In Cancer Prevention Areas

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DES MOINES, Iowa -- A new report from the American Cancer Society shows Iowa lawmakers are getting better at fighting the disease but there's still much more to do.

The annual "How Do You Measure Up?" report rates states on their policies and legislation that help prevent and treat cancer.

Iowa earned some high marks for its smoke free laws, access to Medicaid and pain treatment policies. However the state also had some negative marks in the area of tobacco cessation funding, indoor tanning restrictions and breast and cervical cancer detection funding. There are a total of nine benchmark requirements.

Breast cancer survivor, Vicki Henderson, tributes early detection screening to saving her life and is embarrassed lawmakers aren’t doing more it make it affordable.

“There are probably so many people that probably didn’t have the early screening who are no longer with us. So shame us, shame on Iowa because we are doing a very big disservice to the women of Iowa,” Henderson said.

Internationally known Iowa oncologist Dr. Richard Deming says the report shows Iowa there are collective opportunities for growth in public policies.

“I get a chance each and every day to hopefully make a difference in reducing the burden of cancer one patient at a time but what we collectively can do as a society and as a legislative body is to pass public health policies and actual laws that can save a whole lot more lives than I can do one person at a time,” he said.”

Deming’s main focus is to get the tanning bed use for minors restriction bill passed. Last year it failed to make it out of the house.

The reports shows 25 states were making improvements in their public policies while the other half fell beneath the benchmark. The states to receive the highest scores were Massachusetts, Maine and Vermont.

Click here to view the entire report.