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Report: New Jersey making progressing against cancer

New Jersey is making strides in the fight against cancer but there is still a great deal of work to be done, according to a new report by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, which found that three-quarters of all states are falling short.

Doctor checking scans for cancer
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The annual report, entitled “How Do You Measure Up? A Progress Report on State Legislative Activity to Reduce Cancer Incidence and Mortality,” looked at how states stand on issues that play a role in reducing cancer, as well as death from the disease.

Each state was measured on 12 policy issues, broken down into three categories: tobacco, prevention and access to care. New Jersey met benchmarks in five of 12 of those issues.

“Overall, New Jersey is making pretty good progress,” said Ethan Hasbrouck, director of government relations in New Jersey for ACS CAN. “The state is a national leader when it comes to cancer screening, but is dead last when it comes to tobacco prevention and cessation program funding. The state receives close to $750 million annually in tobacco tax revenue. We are the only state in the nation, including Washington, D.C., that spends zero state dollars on tobacco control and prevention programs.”

Last year, Gov. Chris Christie accepted federal funding for full Medicaid expansion in the state, which is a positive, according to Hasbrouck. New Jersey also met a benchmark for taxes on cigarettes. The national average is $1.51 per pack. In New Jersey, it is $2.70 per pack.

“New Jersey’s smoke-free laws are also pretty good, and the state has restrictions on tobacco ratings for health insurance policies, and that is a plus,” Hasbrouck said.

It is estimated that more than 51,000 people in New Jersey will be diagnosed with cancer in 2014 and more than 16,000 will die from the disease. One in two men and one in three women will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime.

To view the complete report, visit www.acscan.org.

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