Sen. Susan Collins received the National Distinguished Advocacy Award Sept. 13, the most prestigious honor bestowed by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, or ACS CAN, in recognition of her dedication to increased cancer research funding, removing barriers to colorectal cancer screening and improved patient quality of life.

ACS CAN, the nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate of the American Cancer Society, presents the annual award to select lawmakers who demonstrate relentless leadership in the area of cancer-related public policy advocacy.

“Sen. Susan Collins has made an extraordinary difference for Mainers and the rest of the nation by being a steadfast supporter of sustaining and increasing investments in funding for the National Institutes of Health and cancer prevention and early detection,” said Chris Hansen, president of ACS CAN. “Thanks to her unwavering commitment to saving more lives from cancer through public policy, Sen. Susan Collins has established herself as a national leader in improving public health.”

Collins has been a champion of cancer prevention efforts, evidenced in part by signing on as an original co-sponsor of the Removing Barriers to Colorectal Cancer Screening Act and supporting the Food and Drug Administration’s regulation of tobacco products. She also became one of the first Senate Republicans to sign on as a cosponsor to the Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act.

“Sen. Susan Collins’ passionate support of meaningful legislation makes a tremendous difference to those touched by cancer,” said Hilary Schneider, Maine government relations director for ACS CAN. “Her leadership and ability to build bridges across party lines to increase support for legislation to improve prevention, early detection and quality of life for patients with serious illnesses is helping to save lives from cancer in Maine and across the country.”

The award was announced at ACS CAN’s annual Leadership Summit and Lobby Day in Washington, D.C., as more than 700 volunteers and staff from across the country convened to ask Congress to support policies that increase cancer research funding, improve patient quality of life and make colorectal cancer screenings more affordable for seniors.

ACS CAN works to encourage lawmakers, candidates and government officials to support laws and policies that will make cancer a top national priority. ACS CAN gives ordinary people extraordinary power to fight cancer. For more information, visit acscan.org.