The Lance Armstrong Foundation has 29 advocates and 3 staff members in DC right now taking part in One Voice Against Cancer (OVAC) -an important lobbying day for the cancer community. Our advocates will ask their elected officials to do six things: 1)Fund cancer research 2)Fund cancer prevention, early detection, and tobacco cessation programs 3)Fund nursing programs and patient navigation 4)Fund drug approval 5)Fund cancer programs for children 6)Full appropriation for the Prevention and Public Health Fund. Everyone has a story and this story from one of our amazing advocates participating in the OVAC lobbying day.
What is your name and where are you from?
My name is Greg Boone and I live in North Canton, Ohio.
What is your cancer connection?
My connections to cancer really began professionally. I have been a General Surgeon specializing in Breast Cancer care for 23 years. My patients and their battles with cancer were my first inspiration to be a cancer activist. But it really hit home for me what it meant to be a cancer survivor when I was diagnosed with prostate cancer at age 43. I had no real idea how life changing a cancer diagnosis truly was until then. Everything in my life changed the day I was diagnosed. It gave me an even deeper appreciation for what my patients truly went through, and it made me even more inspired by the grace and determination with which they fought their battles. So not only do I see the problem from my personal perspective but I can also share the stories of my patients and speak to the barriers they face and the ways that government impacts them.
I see patients every day that present with advanced disease because they lacked resources or access to screening that could have diagnosed them at an earlier, more curable stage, so I am passionate about preserving funding for early detection and screening programs. In breast cancer, early tumors confined to the breast are 95+% curable. If the disease is found once it has spread, this number drops dramatically. Not only that, but the cost of caring for them rises accordingly. Late stage disease costs significantly more to treat than early stage disease. and early or late, patients always ultimately present for care! These screening programs are not just good medicine but also good economics!
Why are you at OVAC?
I remember someone saying at the LIVESTRONG Summit in Columbus several years ago that 1500 people die from cancer in this country every day.They pointed out that this was like 9/11 happening every other day! I’m certain that if terrorists were flying planes into buildings and killing 3000 Americans every other day that our legislators would do whatever it took to put a stop to it. It’s imperative that we make them understand that cancer is doing just that and that it is unconscionable to let it continue! This is why I want to be an advocate.