STATEWIDE – The American Cancer Society released their 2021 Cancer Facts & Figures to highlight COVID-19’s potential impact on cancer diagnoses and outcomes to people across the country.
Hilary Schneider, an official from American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network says this is especially important for Mainers as cancer diagnoses and deaths are heavily present in Maine.
“10,000 Mainers are expected to be diagnosed with cancer in 2021. More than 3300 Mainers are expected to die from cancer. Pre-COVID, cancer is the second leading cause of death nationally but it’s the first leading cause of death in Maine,” she says.
She said nationally, cancer deaths have dropped for the second straight year, but the impact of the pandemic will have untold consequences going forward.
Schneider says the pandemic has caused disruptions in access to cancer care in 2020, which can impede progress in reducing cancer mortality rates in the years to come
“Obviously that can lead to later stage diagnoses and seeing some of the progress we’ve made in cancer over the past decade be rolled back,” she says.
In Maine, Schneider and her team will be lobbying state law makers to preserve MaineCare coverage to ensure patients have health coverage that provides them adequate access to cancer treatment services, medications and providers they need.
“Bottom line point is cancer does not stop because we’re in a pandemic, we need to continue to make progress in our laws and policies in order to make progress in our fight against cancer,” she says.