SB 21 will help prevent cancer

Thursday, January 31, 2019


I am the daughter, granddaughter, sister, niece, cousin and friend to many whom have fought the terrible disease we call “Cancer”. I was fourteen years old when my mother and grandmother were both diagnosed with cancer about two weeks apart — my mom with melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, and my grandmother with lymphoma.

All I knew about cancer was that anyone who got it died. I was terrified.

They both had surgery and went through the treatment protocol for their specific disease. My grandmother passed away about three years later. I just knew my mom’s days were numbered.

At this point I still didn’t know anyone who survived “Cancer”. And it wasn’t talked about very openly. But this is 2019, and we can prevent cancer. Skin cancer is killing our young women across this country and in Montana. Using a tanning bed before the age of 35 increases the risk of melanoma by 59 percent. This applies to my younger sister – also a melanoma cancer survivor. Rates increase even more when tanning beds are used before the age of 25.Let’s do what we can to protect young people from preventable skin cancer.

I strongly urge our legislators to support the passage of Senate Bill 21. Prohibiting the use of tanning beds in minors can prevent and reduce future incidences of cancer.

I am proud to be doing what I can do to make cancer prevention a legislative priority. Please join me by supporting passage of Senate Bill 21.

And my mom? Well, she’ll celebrate forty years of survivorship this summer. She and others are why, I do what I do.

Thank you.

Kim Smarsh

Miles City