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Group says Wyoming falls short in cancer prevention

Aug 25, 2015 The Associated Press

The state meets only one recommendation of nine benchmarks according to the organization's report.

CHEYENNE --Wyoming has not done enough to adopt policies and laws that a national organization favors in fighting cancer, a report by the group says.

For example, the state has not raised the tax on cigarettes or created a smoke-free Wyoming, says the American Cancer Society's Cancer Action Network.

In fact, Wyoming meets only one recommendation of nine benchmarks in the report.

It also noted the state is behind on adopting restrictions on indoor tanning devices and increasing access to Medicaid.

This year, about 2,800 people in Wyoming will be diagnosed with cancer, Deb Simpson, grassroots manager of the Cancer Action Network in Wyoming, said.

Even though Wyoming met only one recommendation out of nine, Simpson said she is optimistic that the state is doing OK in cancer prevention efforts.

For example, Wyoming was the first state in 2015 to pass into law the oral chemotherapy fairness bill, she said.

That law deals with medications for cancer treatment. It requires that health insurance companies charge cancer patients equally, whether they are treated with intravenous or oral chemotherapy. Those who get oral chemotherapy take a pill.

In the past, insurance companies often required high cost-sharing for patients who got oral chemotherapy compared to those who received IV treatments.

In some cases, insurance companies didn't cover the cost of all of the treatment.

Members of the Cancer Action Network in Wyoming helped lead the effort to get the law passed, the group says.

The law means that a cancer patient in Wyoming will make decisions based on what their doctors considers best for their treatments rather than what they can afford, Simpson said.

The report noted that Wyoming also is doing well with its funding for tobacco prevention and stop smoking programs.

The report says the state has shown some progress on improving Medicaid coverage of tobacco cessation services, early detection funding for breast and cervical cancer and pain policy.

Nationally, only three states meet six of the nine benchmarks measured. No state meets seven or more measures.

The Wyoming Legislature considered a bill in the last session to raise the tax on cigarettes by $1. It failed in the House Revenue Committee.

Wyoming retailers and the tobacco industry opposed the bill.

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