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Bipartisan bill could improve cancer research, outcomes

Tax checkoff would help bring Ohio in line with cancer reporting standards
May 16, 2016
David Leland News

State Reps. David Leland (D-Columbus) and Robert Sprague (R-Findlay) today announced new legislation to create an income tax check-off for the Ohio Cancer Incidence Surveillance System (OCISS), the Ohio Department of Health program charged with collecting, analyzing and reporting cases of cancer across the Buckeye State.

“Cancer affects not just those who are diagnosed, but their family, friends, and loved ones,” said Sprague. “Overall, the toll on our state is tremendous. This bill is a simple way to have a big impact on cancer research in Ohio.”

The OCISS income tax check-off aims to improve the completeness and timeliness of cancer reporting in Ohio by boosting funding for training, technology and rapid reporting. Six different state income tax check-offs currently allow taxpayers to donate a portion of their refund to other worthy causes.

“OCISS needs these additional funds to meet national reporting benchmarks, so that Ohio can be eligible for certain federal grants,” said Leland. “Without these grants, our state cannot keep pace with the rapidly evolving field of cancer research.”

Ohio’s cancer reporting system is one of only several not regularly certified as “Gold” by the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries, meaning Ohio often fails to meet a minimum standard of 95 percent complete reporting.

Incomplete reporting of cancer cases means the state likely underestimates its cancer burden, making it difficult for state and local health agencies to allocate resources properly. Failure to meet reporting accuracy benchmarks also disqualifies the state from being eligible for certain federal research grants.

“Without good, complete data on the burden of cancer in our state, cancer researchers can’t make a full and sustained battle against this disease,” said Dr. Electra Paskett, Associate Director for Population Sciences at the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center. “Making this resource better will benefit every person in Ohio, as we are all touched by cancer whether personally, in our family, our friends or in our communities.”

“Being able to fully utilize complete data on cancer in Ohio will help doctors develop personalized cures for each person’s cancer, as there is no routine cancer,” Paskett added.

The Ohio Department of Health estimates that over 60,000 Ohioans are diagnosed with cancer each year.