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Study: NJ Legislators Can Improve Efforts To Combat Cancer [AUDIO]

How does New Jersey measure on its policies to prevent and fight cancer? A new study by the American Cancer Society finds the state gets mixed reviews.

Rick Gershon, Getty Images

According to the report, How Do You Measure Up?: A Progress Report on State Legislative Activity to Reduce Cancer Incidence and Mortality, New Jersey gets good marks for its breast and cervical cancer early detection program funding, colorectal screening coverage laws, smoke-free laws and tobacco taxes. The state is making moderate improvement in access to palliative care.

There are two areas, however, where the state falls short.

“One of the state’s biggest shortcomings is its failure to ban indoor tanning for minors” said Horner. “We’re hopeful that in the fall the Legislature will make this a top priority and get rid of this indoor radiation.” According to the World Health Organization, those who use indoor tanning before the age of 30 increase their risk of melanoma by 30 percent.

He said the state also fails to adequately fund anti-tobacco efforts.

“The state’s tobacco control program is just a shadow of what it used to be and the effects will be felt in higher smoking rates and more suffering from tobacco-related illnesses. More funds must be added to this program.”

Compared to other states in the nation, New Jersey and states in the northeast do a good job at preventing and fighting cancer.

“States in the south and west tend to do a little worse” said Horner. “But there is still much more than New Jersey legislators can do to combat cancer and we’re looking to see the state improve this year.”

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