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Cancer Policy Report Card Shows Room For Improvement In Kansas


Kansas is in the bottom half of the class in a new report from the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Action Network.

The report judges states on nine policies relating to cancer control and prevention. Kansas draws praise for raising tobacco taxes this year, for cancer pain control policies, and for its statewide Indoor Clean Air Act. But the state received failing marks for six other policy areas.

Cancer Action Network spokeswoman Reagan Cussimanio says Kansas has been under-funding tobacco control and prevention for years. Cussimanio says lawmakers should not look at these programs as an expense.

“This is a return on investment," she says. "When you’re investing in prevention, you are ultimately reducing your expenditures on Medicaid. You’re reducing your expenditures in other areas of state spending.”

Cussimanio says Kansas also needs to make tanning beds off-limits to anyone younger than 18. She says using a tanning bed before the age of 35 raises a person’s melanoma risk by 59 percent.

Bryan Thompson is a reporter with Heartland Health Monitor.