American Cancer Society Says Broken Health Care System Will Be "Bigger Killer" Than Tobacco

The American Cancer Society has dedicated its entire advertising budget to the issue of lack of access to health insurance because it fears that the uninsured do not get adequate cancer screenings. From the NYT:

“I believe, if we don’t fix the health care system, that lack of access will be a bigger cancer killer than tobacco,” Mr. Seffrin [chief executive of the cancer society] said in an interview. “The ultimate control of cancer is as much a public policy issue as it is a medical and scientific issue.”

The two 60-second television commercials that form the spine of the campaign make that point.

One features images of uninsured cancer patients, appearing hollow and fearful. “This is what a health care crisis looks like to the American Cancer Society,” the narrator begins. “We’re making progress, but it’s not enough if people don’t have access to the care that could save their lives.”

The other commercial depicts a young mother whose family has gone into debt because her insurance did not fully cover her cancer treatment. “Is the choice between caring for yourself and caring for your family really a choice?” the narrator asks.

Census figures released this week show that the number and percentage of people in the United States without health insurance rose last year, to 47 million and 15.8 percent. A 2003 study estimated that one of every 10 cancer patients was uninsured.

Expect to see the ads on cable channels starting Nov. 17 through Thanksgiving. There will also be print ads in magazines as well.

Cancer Society Focuses Its Ads on the Uninsured [NYT]