The American Cancer Society releases a startling statistic-- by the end of this year, 20-thousand Oklahomans are expected to get cancer. And, unfortunately, when it comes to fighting cancer, Oklahoma is falling short.
"Unfortunately, we have not hit any of the benchmarks that have been established," says Michelle Brown, a volunteer with the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network. According to the report, Oklahoma is failing in legislative policies that fight cancer. For example, Oklahoma has no tanning bed restrictions.
"I went to a tanning bed for the first time when I was 14," says Becca DeBee, a cancer survivor and mom of three. After beating Stage 3 Melanoma, she says there should be regulations for young people. "My mom said- 'Be careful, you're going to get skin cancer.' But, that didn't mean anything to me. I was too young to make that choice," says Becca.
"So many place will let them come in and tan for prom," says Brown.
Another failed benchmark- our low cost of cigarettes. But, the American Cancer Society says we are making small strides in "smoke-free areas." "Those areas that used to be smoking rooms have been removed in the Oklahoma City airport, the Seminole airport, and the Tahlequah airport," says Brown.
When it comes to preventative screenings, Oklahoma ranks low in providing options like mammograms and colonoscopies to the uninsured. With 8-thousand Oklahomans expected to die from cancer this year, the American Cancer Society says screenings are a necessity. "Sometimes you don't even have symptoms," explains Brown.
After failing to meet all 10 of the study's benchmarks, the American Cancer Society wants more Oklahomans to stand up in the fight against cancer. "Look at this report, read what's going on in this state, and become active," says Brown.