Last June, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R. FL) and Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) introduced H.R. 2976, The Deferment for Active Cancer Treatment Act. This legislation would enable individuals who are diagnosed with cancer to defer payments on public student loans while they are actively receiving treatment (and 6 months after), without interest accruing during the deferment period. Seventy-five members of congress representing both parties co-sponsored this bill. On July 12th, Florida Senator Bill Nelson (D), introduced this bill to the Senate. It was referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.
Why should we care? 70,000 new young adult cancer diagnoses are predicted in 2018?. Those patients attending school or beginning new careers may also have student loan obligations. Postponing their debt repayment would allow these patients to concentrate on their treatments and getting healthier without the financial burden of accruing interest rates on their loans.
MAC supports this legislation, We urge our members to be involved, and let your friends know that this legislation is critical to our children’s future!
Sunscreen in Schools
MAC has signed on as a supporter of the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery Association's SUNucate model legislation. This model bill is aimed at ensuring that children attending schools and camps have access to sunscreen and sun-protective clothing, including hats. Many schools nationwide currently require students wanting to use sunscreen during the school day to have a doctor's note or prescription. The SUNucate legislation, which has already passed in several states and is making its way through others, does away with that requirement.
MAC professional member Victoria Siegel, Professor of Nursing at Molloy College, co-authored an article published this past year in the Medsurge nursing journal. She also worked with nursing students to write a resolution that was passed by the National Student Nurses organization, which now resolves to have skin cancer education in all nursing schools across the country.
Note: This measure failed to go into effect when Congress failed to vote on the American Health Care Act.
The Affordable Care Act imposed a 10 percent tax on the use of tanning beds. Effort to repeal the ACA include provisions to repeal this tax. MAC believes it is a valuable tool in the effort to discourage tanning bed use. We are encouraging our member foundations and supporters to contact their Congressional representatives and oppose this action. See below for a sample letter. Feel free to adapt it to your own needs.
The FDA recently closed the public comments period for its proposed new rules regulating the use of tanning beds. The rules would ban those 18 and under from indoor tanning and require users to sign a risk acknowledgment certificate before use and every six months thereafter. MAC and many of its member foundations submitted comments to the FDA supporting the rules.
Evidence linking the use of UV tanning devices to melanoma and other skin cancers is documented and overwhelming. The World Health Organization, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and American Academy of Pediatrics are among the many organizations that condemn tanning bed use. According to a 2012 investigation by the US House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce, the tanning industry has specifically targeted the teen market and provided misleading information about the risks of indoor tanning. Parental permission laws do not offer adequate protection for children in these circumstances.
Although we would prefer to see a total ban on indoor tanning, we believe the proposed restrictions are a step in the right direction, one that will help protect the health of our children and educate users about the cancer risk they are assuming. In the meantime, we will continue the pressure on the tanning industry!
UPDATE: Now that the public comment period has passed, MAC is joining with other organizations to urge the FDA to finalize its proposed rules quickly. Here is a copy of our comments. Please feel free to use them as a template to submit your own. Send to FDA Commissioner Robert Califf (firstname.lastname@example.org) and HHS Secretary Burwell (Sylvia.email@example.com)
MAC members have also begun partnering with the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) to support state and local legislation to restrict tanning bed use. Unless and until the FDA's rules are adopted, we must work at the state and local levels to put restrictions in place.