Bill to fight cervical cancer heads to governor’s desk

WLFI File Photo

INDIANAPOLIS (WLFI) — A bill aimed at saving Hoosier women’s lives is now on its way to Gov. Eric Holcomb’s desk.

House Bill 1278, created by State Reps. Sharon Negele and Sally Siegrist, would require the Indiana State Health Department to come up with a plan to lower the number of women who die from cervical cancer.

About 90 women die from the disease every year in Indiana, with 250 new cases being diagnosed during that same time frame. But Negele said cervical cancer can be prevented with proper education.

“Cervical cancer is largely preventable and highly treatable if caught early,” Negele said. “This bill would create a comprehensive and targeted plan to reduce the number of women who die from cervical cancer every year. It’s critical we help educate the public and raise awareness about the ways to prevent and treat this terrible disease.”

The bill also asks the ISDH to develop cervical cancer prevention programs, screening and treatment options and to develop public and private partnerships in order to increase awareness.

According to the bill’s legislation, the health department’s report outlining its plan is due to the governor and General Assembly by Dec. 31, 2018.

Siegrist said working to develop a plan to reduce the number of women who are diagnosed with cervical cancer is a prime example of how public-private partnerships can benefit our state.

“It is imperative that we are focusing our collective efforts on increasing awareness about this preventable and treatable disease so that Hoosier women can be better protected,” she said.

The House of Representatives approved the bill, prior to the Indiana Senate voting unanimously in support of the bill on Tuesday. It now can be signed into law by the governor.