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Callaway County cancer advocates visit Capitol

by Helen Wilbers | April 7, 2017 at 1:05 a.m. | Updated April 7, 2017 at 1:28 p.m.
Joy Shawley, member of the American Cancer Society and Fulton resident, visited with state representatives Wednesday. She shared the ACS's work during a Callaway Resource Network meeting.

One hundred members of Missouri's branch of the American Cancer Society (ACS) visited Jefferson City on Wednesday to speak with state representatives.
Joy Shawley, a Fulton resident and community manager for the High Plains Division of the ACS, spoke with state Rep. Travis Fitzwater, R-Holts Summitt, and Sen. Jeanie Riddle, R-Mokane. Shawley said two other Callaway County residents attended the event.
"They are very receptive to hearing the ideas of constituents," Shawley said. "Both expressed that they've had touches with cancer."
Cancer is a personal issue to Shawley since her husband survived leukemia.
At a Thursday meeting of the Callaway Resource Network, Shawley explained every year the Missouri Cancer Action Network (part of the ACS) selects issues to bring before representatives during the "Day at the Capitol" event. This year, they're focusing on three topics.
First, maintain funding for the Show Me Healthy Women (SMHS) program. This initiative brings free breast and cervical cancer screenings to impoverished, uninsured or underinsured women over the age of 35. In Callaway County, the Community Health center provides SMHS services.
Second, they want to secure funding to prevent youth smoking and help adults quit, Shawley said.
Participants urged their representatives to maintain funding for the Missouri Tobacco Quitline.
Finally, the American Cancer Society in Missouri is focusing on melanoma, a deadly skin cancer. Shawley said this is a new focus and added melanoma is on the rise in the state.
She said the rise is driven by the prevalence of indoor tanning. In 2012, Missouri passed a law restricting access to indoor tanning by requiring parental permission for individuals 17 and younger. Shawley claims it hasn't had much of an impact.
"If you do indoor tanning before turning 35, you're 59 percent more likely to get melanoma," she said.
Past "Day at the Capitol" events have been successful, Shawley said, with the American Cancer Society's efforts helping to pass legislation requiring insurers to cover oral chemotherapy as well as traditional chemotherapy.
The American Cancer Society holds regular fundraising events in Callaway County. For example, Shawley will be participating in an Easter egg fundraiser.
"I'll come put eggs in your yard the night before Easter, so the kids can discover them when they wake up," Shawley said.
For more information, Shawley can be contacted at 573-635-4839 or [email protected].


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