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Anti-Cancer Activists To Lawmakers: 'Cancer Votes'

Today is Cancer Votes day in Florida, organized by the American Cancer Society's Cancer Action Network. The society is urging Florida voters to consider how the candidates they choose could affect the quality of the care they or their loved ones receive.

Steve Rogers lives in Tallahassee with his wife and children. He says, it’s been almost 11 years since he heard the words he never thought he would hear: "You have cancer."

“I was 41 years old. I was healthy, never smoked. You know, I ate right, took care of myself. I worked out every morning," he said. "And when I got sick with pancreatic cancer, it was a very telling disease; I mean, I got sick, I looked bad, I lost a lot of weight and people said, 'How did you get sick, because you’re so healthy?'"

Rogers says, one out of every two men and one out of every three women will get cancer at some point in our lives. In Florida alone, he says, that means about 120,000 new cancer diagnoses next year. And, in the same year, more than 40,000 Floridians will die of cancer.

Rogers says, researchers looking for a cure can’t keep up the good work without public funding. So, he’s teaming up with the American Cancer Society’s advocacy branch to get out the word about Cancer Votes Day.

The American Cancer Society’s Paul Hull says, voters should make sure their candidates will make fighting cancer a priority, in three main ways:

“Cancer-research funding is a huge one," he said. "As well as access to affordable care. We certainly want to make sure lawmakers are doing all they can to protect seniors with cancer. And prevention is a huge issue as well.”

Hull says preventative measures, like cancer screenings and education for the elderly and poor, depend heavily on public health funds.

And, to help voters know where their candidates and lawmakers stand on these issues, the Cancer Society invites them to visit CancerVotes.org.

And on Tuesday, Cancer Votes Day, organizers will be taking their message to the Capitol. Rogers says he’ll be joining the effort in Tallahassee to let lawmakers know:

“We have cancer, or we had cancer, or we’re afraid we might get cancer. And, oh yeah, by the way, we vote, so you need to remember us," he said.

Again, for information on candidates’ positions on cancer prevention, and to contact them about cancer, visit CancerVotes.org.