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New ACS CAN report measures state efforts to prevent and reduce cancer

In almost every state, legislatures are missing opportunities

On August 1, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) released its 17th annual How Do You Measure Up?: A Progress Report on State Legislative Activity to Reduce Cancer Incidence and Mortality. The report illustrates state legislative efforts to advance policies that help reduce death and suffering from cancer. Detailed state-by-state information and a full copy of the report are available at

How does your state measure up in the fight against cancer?

How Do You Measure Up? is an annual snapshot of where all 50 states and Washington, D.C. – and U.S. territories, where information is available – stand in the fight against cancer, using a color-coded rating system. Green represents the benchmark position and indicates that a state has adopted evidence-based policies and best practices; yellow indicates that a state is making progress towards the benchmark position, and red means that a state is falling behind. 

The report is aimed at state legislators and other stakeholders in the policy-making process to highlight the critical role they play in ACS CAN’s advocacy work to implement evidenced-based policy solutions proven to help fight cancer. 

The report focuses on eight legislative priority areas critical to reducing the cancer burden: 

  • Increased access to Medicaid 
  • Access to palliative care
  • Pain policy 
  • Tobacco excise taxes 
  • Smoke-free laws 
  • Tobacco control funding 
  • Medicaid coverage of tobacco cessation 
  • Indoor tanning restrictions 

ACS CAN staff and volunteers have made incredible progress in implementing legislative solutions to prevent, manage, and treat cancer, with more than half of the states in our country making progress in passing cancer-fighting policies. However, the 2019 How Do You Measure Up? report shows that in almost every state, legislatures are missing opportunities to enact laws and policies that would save more lives and boost local economies. ACS CAN continues to engage with policymakers to take action in the areas where states are falling short this year. 

Special section: Tobacco 21

This year’s report also includes a special section examining legislative efforts to stem youth tobacco product use by raising the legal age of sale for tobacco to 21. The special section draws attention to the tobacco industry’s agenda of co-opting good-faith tobacco 21 legislation to include provisions that do not effectively protect youth from its dangerous products but instead help protect the industry’s own profits.

Report promotion 

ACS CAN media advocacy staff are working with national, state, and local reporters and news outlets to promote How Do You Measure Up?, highlight ACS CAN’s priority campaigns in their states, and coordinate interviews with ACS CAN spokespeople. The report will be promoted on ACS CAN’s national TwitterFacebook, and Instagram accounts, and staff are encouraged to share content directly from the ACS CAN pages. ACS CAN President Lisa Lacasse will be sharing her thoughts on the report on her Cancer CANdor Blog


Questions about the report or state-specific efforts can be directed to Rachel Marcus, ACS CAN state and local campaigns manager. If staff receive media requests related to the report, please contact your local ACS CAN media advocacy staff partner.

TOP PHOTO:  This graphic shows state decisions on increasing Medicaid eligibility up to 138% of the Federal Poverty Level ($17,236 for an individual; $35,535 for a family of four). Green states have expanded Medicaid eligibility; red indicates that the governor and/or state legislature chose not to expand Medicaid eligibility to low-income state residents.

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