Women and Lung Cancer Research and Preventive Services Act of 2018
In today's political climate, it isn't often that you hear about a bill that enjoys bipartisan support, but the Women and Lung Cancer Research and Preventive Services Act of 2018 does. The bill has been introduced into the House (HR 4897) and the Senate (S2358). Now, it is up to us to try to get our legislators to show their support of the bills by becoming co-sponsors.
Why is this bill important?
I believe it is critical for this bill to pass through Congress. Essentially, it is asking for the following:
- Increased research on women and lung cancer (Did you know that lung cancer kills 193 women every single day? That is more than breast, ovarian, cervical, and uterine cancers combined.)
- Improved access to lung cancer screening services, like low-dose CT scans (currently available to only women over the age of 55 with a long history of smoking. Sadly, even those women eligible for the scans are not taking advantage of their availability.)
- National public awareness and education campaigns on lung cancer and women. (Think how awesome it would be if we could begin to get the same amount of attention as breast cancer does.)
How can we support this effort?
How do we go about trying to get our Congressional leaders to support this bill? We bug them. Remember the adage about the squeaky wheel getting the grease? Well, let's get squeaky!!!! Let's bother them until our Senators and Representatives say to themselves, "Let me put my name on this bill just to get her to get off of my back!!!" (Honestly, it would be much better if they can be made aware of the lung cancer epidemic and start to actually care about correcting it ... but I'll take their support any way I can get it right now.)
There are many ways you can reach your Congresspeople. The absolute easiest way is to go to Lung Cancer Alliance's Web site and complete a form email. Even after I personalized the email a bit with my own story, I still only spent three minutes or so sending out the letter to all of my legislators and the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The Web site address for the form letter, which can be modified however you like, can be reached by clicking here.
Have you contacted your representatives?
If you wish, you may also call your representatives. Call the Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121 and ask to speak to your representative.
If you are in Washington, DC, go visit your Congressperson's office. You'll probably be assigned to speak to an aide, but it is the job of the aide to advise the legislator on what the constituents find important.
You can go to visit your Congressperson's local office. Leave information that he or she can review after you leave.
I am a big letter writer to my Congresspeople so I was very surprised when I was watching a replay of a Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation's monthly Lung Cancer Living Room and saw that only a very few of those in attendance had ever contacted anyone in Congress. Our legislators were put into office by our vote. They work for us. But, how do they know what is important to us if we don't tell them?
Getting others involved in the fight against lung cancer
Please enlist the help of your family and friends, neighbors and acquaintances - anyone and everyone you know who might be willing to get involved. And, keep in mind that you can and should contact your legislators over and over again.
In my opinion, this legislation is way too important for it not to get passed. But, unless we join forces and work to get it recognized and supported, it may not go through.
If we make enough noise, one of these days maybe people will be as sick of seeing white ribbons (for lung cancer) as they are of seeing pink everywhere. Wouldn't that be great if our cancer had that kind of support?!?!
Are you satisfied with your care team?