Iowans have heard the presidential candidates’ stances on all sorts of issues, ranging from taxes to terrorism, but a website is offering their views specific to cancer research. Chris Hansen, president of the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Action Network, says some Iowans consider the potentially-deadly disease as a basis for whom they will vote.
“People who have been touched by cancer, and frankly, virtually everybody in this country has been touched by cancer, either themselves or a friend or loved one,” Hansen says. “The fact of the matter is, we do polling in this and the most-feared word in the American language is the word ‘cancer’ and people feel very strongly about this.”
Estimates find 17,000 Iowans will be diagnosed with cancer this year while 6,000 Iowans will die from it. Hansen says the “Cancer Votes” website does not endorse any candidates, but it does publish their responses to a survey, word-for-word.
“We don’t grade what candidates say,” Hansen says. “We provide information to them. We encourage them to understand more. We encourage them to tell the voters what kinds of things they would do.” While he says no candidates have said they’re against funding cancer research, there do appear to be contradictions at times, like in candidates who smoke.
Hansen notes, one-third of all cancer deaths can be traced to tobacco consumption. “Most people who smoke today are people who got hooked on tobacco when they were very young,” Hansen says. “We’ve done polls that show up to 80% of the smoking population really wants to quit. The problem is, they can’t because the products are so addictive.”
Cancer Votes is offering a presidential voter’s guide with President Obama’s and Governor Mitt Romney’s responses to how they would work to make cancer a national priority.