Tri-Cities Voice Newspaper - What's Happening - Fremont, Union City, Newark California

October 31, 2006 > Making a difference

Making a difference

Yes on 86

As a community member who has lost a loved one to cancer, and as CEO of the Northern California Cancer Center, a leading organization for cancer research and community education, I want to share my personal perspective on the need to pass Prop 86.

Proposition 86 would raise the state tobacco excise tax to generate an estimated $2.1 billion annually for cancer research. It will also aid in prevention, as studies have shown that raising taxes on tobacco products reduces smoking. The proposition specifically calls for re-establishing the Department of Health's Cancer Research Program and launching a new Lung Cancer and Lung Disease Research Program. These combined programs would bring an additional $24 million to cancer research funding in California.

We have all been affected by cancer, whether by surviving the disease ourselves, by seeing friends and family members diagnosed, or by painfully losing loved ones to this disease. It is imperative that research on the causes and prevention of this disease continue.

In addition, Prop 86 funds will enable improvements in the operation of California's cancer registries, including the Greater Bay Area Cancer Registry, housed at the Northern California Cancer Center, which tracks cancer diagnoses and deaths in the nine counties of the Greater Bay Area. The Northern California Cancer Center also participates in Every Woman Counts, a Cancer Detection Program that enables low-income, medically underserved women to obtain free cervical and breast cancer screenings. Funding from Proposition 86 would enable adding free colorectal cancer screening to that list. With approximately 18,000 calls a year to the Every Woman Counts hotline, this program saves lives and could save many more.

Cancer remains a killer. More than 25,000 Californians die each year from this disease. We must continue to understand who gets cancer and why, and how to improve the quality of life for individuals living with this disease. With the passage of Prop 86, we can make an even bigger impact in finding answers and making a difference.

Don Nielsen, Ph.D.
Northern California Cancer Center

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