(CNN) – Cancer will take the lives of nearly 600,000 Americans this year, according to the American Cancer Society. Democratic presidential contenders John Edwards and Hillary Clinton have set their sights on the killer.
Edwards announced his “National Strategy on Cancer Survivorship” on Monday. The former North Carolina senator’s plan is based on providing universal health care coverage to every American. The plan includes, among other things, a requirement for preventative screening for cancer, as well as the enactment of a patient’s bill of rights making insurance companies accountable when they try to deny coverage for medically necessary treatment. The Edwards plan would also increase funding for the National Institutes of Health, lift current restrictions on stem cell research, study environmental factors that may contribute to cancer, and attempt to end health disparities that often leave various population groups at greater risk of developing certain forms of cancer.
Sen. Clinton also announced her plan on Monday. It would prohibit insurance companies from charging higher rates to people with health problems. At the same time, it would also encourage people with a family history of cancer to get genetic testing by prohibiting insurance companies from discriminating on the basis of genetic testing results. The senator’s plan would further increase federal funding for cancer research, while also providing a boost for preventative care.
As president, Clinton has pledged to empower the Food and Drug Administration to regulate tobacco advertising and sales, including possible new restrictions on advertising directed at children. Tobacco is known to be one of the leading causes of certain forms of cancer.
Clinton and Edwards will participate in Lance Armstrong’s Livestrong Presidential Cancer Forum in Cedar Rapids, Iowa on Wednesday.
Edwards’ wife, Elizabeth, was diagnosed with breast cancer just after the presidential election in 2004, and is currently battling a recurrence of the disease.
–CNN Associate Producer Martina Stewart