I traveled to Washington recently with hundreds of fellow advocates, cancer patients, survivors, and their loved ones from across the country who volunteer for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network. We called on Congress to back legislation that emphasizes patients’ quality of life during treatment for a serious disease such as cancer.
No one with cancer should suffer needlessly from pain, nausea, and other symptoms as doctors concentrate on treating the disease.
I met with House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, Reps. Jim Jordan and Bob Latta, and Sens. Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman. I asked them to co-sponsor two bills that would protect cancer patients’ quality of life.
The Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act would award grants to encourage training and continuing education for students and health professionals in palliative care.
The Patient Centered Quality of Life Act would improve the experience of cancer patients and their families by better coordinating their care and addressing the often debilitating symptoms of treatment.
Cancer is not just physical, but also causes mental, emotional, spiritual, and financial struggles. The lawmakers with whom I met can be leaders in supporting a health-care delivery model that treats the whole person.
Editor’s note: The writer is state lead ambassador for the Ohio American Cancer Society Action Network.