ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – The American Cancer Society is giving New Mexico red marks when it comes to helping cancer patients. They’re calling out lawmakers for not providing enough money for cancer prevention.
Researchers took a look at all 50 states. Here in New Mexico, they say state lawmakers need to designate more money for cancer screenings and prevention programs, like those used to prevent smoking.
“In New Mexico, we have a ways to go to catch up with some of our policies that are designed to prevent cancer or treat cancer, along the cancer care continuum,” said American Cancer Society of New Mexico’s Government Relations Director Sandra Adondakis.
The ACS studied nine areas, including tobacco prevention, pain management policies and Medicaid access in each state. Each area was ranked red, yellow or green. Red was the worst.
New Mexico got three red ratings for having no tanning bed restrictions, reduced access to specialized medical care and it’s funding for woman to get breast and cervical cancer screenings. Researchers focused on those two types of cancer because they can easily be screened and have high rates of successful treatment if found early. Experts say while funding these programs can be pricey, they save enormous amounts of money in the long run.
Adondakis said, “When we find a cancer early, we can treat it more easily. We have better health outcomes, so we save money on the treatment and save money on the death and disease due to that cancer.”
It wasn’t all bad news. ACS gave the state green ratings for its cigarette tax rates and increased accessed to Medicaid.
KRQE reached out to members of the Health committee for more information but did not hear back.
All nine areas New Mexico was evaluated on:
- Cigarette Tax Rates: GREEN
- Smoke-free Laws: YELLOW
- Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Program Funding: YELLOW
- Medicaid Coverage of Tobacco Cessation Services: YELLOW
- Indoor Tanning Device Restrictions: RED
- Increased Access to Medicaid: GREEN
- Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Funding: RED
- Access to Palliative Care: RED
- Pain Policy: YELLOW