As survivors who have been there and experienced cancer personally, NCCS knows that quality cancer care doesn’t just happen — it takes advocacy.

Cancer Advocacy Now!Advocacy is speaking out on issues of that you care about, or offering your opinion and suggestions for how to improve something to the people who are in control. It takes place on a continuum and it can take many forms and occur at many levels including personal advocacy, advocacy for others, and advocacy in the public interest.

Survivors speak from experience. Survivors, their loved ones, and their caregivers know that we need to find ways to address all the complicated questions and issues that accompany a cancer diagnosis. For them it is personal, and they bring to it extraordinary passion and dedication. That is why NCCS brings together survivor-advocates, along with other cancer advocates — researchers, healthcare providers, and social justice advocates — to advocate for the highest standards of quality care.

You can take several steps towards advocating for quality care right now.

Whether you are new to grassroots advocacy or an “old hand,” we hope this guide will provide you with all the tools and advice you need to make your voice heard. The strategies in this section are the building blocks of most grassroots campaigns. Combined with the passion and experience you bring, these how-to guides, samples, and background fact sheets will help you become a powerful force in the fight for quality cancer care.

Advocacy from Home

You don’t need an action alert to contact your legislator. If you feel strongly about an issue, you can contact him or her yourself. Letters, e-mails, and telephone calls are all important ways to inform your legislator about an issue and your position on it. Public officials pay close attention to communication from their constituents, so making your opinions known is the best way to sway his or her vote.

NCCS focuses on federal-level advocacy – that means advocacy at the national level. It is also possible to advocate at your state level and your local level. Sometimes, it may also be necessary to communicate with government agencies that affect quality cancer care.

Community Advocacy

Once you’ve become comfortable taking action from home, you may be ready to move out into your community.

Advocacy work in your own community may include recruiting others to join the campaign, perhaps by organizing a letter-writing event or staffing a table at a local fair or fundraiser. You may want to attend or even plan an event in your town, like a town meeting, or a panel discussion with survivors, policymakers, and physicians at your local hospital or community center. Or you may want to organize a visit with your senator or representative in the district office.

It’s fun, it’s effective, and you can make a huge difference.

National Advocacy

So you’ve caught the advocacy bug and want to do more? We’re ready for you! Our advocates have joined us in Washington, D.C. for visits to legislators on Capitol Hill, rallies on the National Mall to end cancer, and to provide testimony before Hill staffers and Congressional committees.

We couldn’t have achieved any of these amazing events without advocates like you.