WASHINGTON, D.C. — A Martinsburg woman who survived ovarian cancer more than 20 years ago says cancer research saved her life and she says others deserve the same chance.
“Cancer isn’t going anywhere. People are still dying and we need to continue to fight to continue research,” said George Blough.
Decades after her diagnosis, she now lobbies for cancer causes as the lead volunteer in West Virginia with the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network.
She was among the hundreds of cancer patients, survivors and volunteers from every state in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday to meet with members of the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives.
They were calling on lawmakers to make cancer a national priority by focusing on the following three areas:
- Restoring full federal funding for cancer research and prevention programs. The sequestration took 5.1 percent from the budget for the National Institutes of Health and reduced funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- Providing patients with better access to palliative care services to relieve pain and coordinated care. The bills focus on public outreach, research and workforce training.
- Supporting a 94 cent increase to the federal tobacco tax. As proposed, the additional money would go into programs to help adults drop their tobacco habits and stop kids from ever getting started.
“This is about saving lives,” said Blough. “We need this to continue to save lives and, without it, more people will go uneducated and more people will die.”
In West Virginia, this year alone, officials with the American Cancer Society estimate 11,450 residents will be diagnosed with cancer and more than 4,600 hundred people will die from it.