The American Cancer Society Action Network is pushing prevention to lower Kentucky's historically high rates of cancer.
Pam Pilgrim is cancer survivor and a network volunteer in eastern Kentucky. She said that a report released Thursday showed that more than 25,000 Kentuckians are diagnosed with cancer each year. One way of shrinking that number is increasing the cigarette tax and creating a statewide smoking ordinance.
“We have actually been working for several years on a smoke free Kentucky, it’s a very hard sale and I understand that but hopefully we will persevere and get that in place in the next few years," she said.
Low-income women are especially at risk because Kentucky is one of only three states which does not fund early screenings for breast and cervical cancer. Pilgrim said the money disappeared from the state budget this year.
Cancer screenings save money in the long run because the cost of treatment, she said, so she urges people to reach out to their legislators about restoring screenings to the state budget.