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New Jersey: Second Five-year Plan to Combat Cancer

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http://www.redorbit.com/news/health/141 ... ng_cancer/


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New Jersey officials released a second five-year plan for "controlling" cancer on Friday, saying that much has been accomplished but much remains to be done in a state with one of the highest rates of cancer in the nation.

At a summit that included 200 cancer-prevention advocates, health professionals and community-group representatives, state health officials called attention to the issues of cancer survivorship, the role of diet and exercise in cancer prevention and the expanded use of a vaccine to prevent cervical cancer.

"We're not going to eliminate cancer in our lifetimes," said Dr. Eddy Bresnitz, the state epidemiologist, who opened the summit in Manalapan. "But we can reduce its impact by either preventing it, or treating it so that we can cure it or approach it as a chronic disease."

The success of cancer treatment has led to a larger population of cancer survivors, who may face not only emotional issues, but secondary health problems as a long-term consequence of the treatment of their original cancer. They may also face insurance discrimination.

Christie Whitman, as governor, established the Governor's Task Force on cancer prevention, early detection and treatment in New Jersey in 2000. That led to the formation of an office of cancer control and prevention within the state Department of Health, and individual cancer control coalitions in every county.

The work of the various coalitions and committees has involved more than 2,000 people over the last five years, Bresnitz said. They have surveyed the landscape of cancer services and put together a resource list, which is updated periodically for the public at njcancer.gov.

With public education activities, the office has focused on childhood cancers and cancers of the breast, prostate, lungs, skin, mouth and throat, gynecologic system and colorectal area.

Bergen County's cancer coalition is housed within the county health department and includes 40 people from across the spectrum of health services and community organizations, said Ellen Taner, its coordinator.

It has promoted prostate-cancer screening through barbershops and a partnership with Harley-Davidson called "Gentlemen, check your engines." It has provided radon test kits to homeowners, because radon is a cause of a lung cancer.

Programs at high schools and middle schools have urged proper sun protection, and programs at cosmetology schools have helped future aestheticians recognize the signs of skin cancer.

"We're getting the word out through strong relationships with our partners," said Taner.

New Jersey has a higher incidence of cancer, for most types of cancer, than the United States as a whole. But the rates have declined slightly from 2001 to 2005, the last year for which figures are available. For most cancers, the death rate among men was below the U.S. average, but the death rate for women was higher.

"We've made good progress," said Bresnitz. "But we have a lot of work to be done," particularly in the area of racial disparities in cancer incidence and outcome. The summit, he said, helped to renew attention and reenergize those working in the field.


Fast facts

The second five-year New Jersey Comprehensive Cancer Control Plan aims to:

* Promote long-term healthy eating patterns, healthy weight and physical activity.

* Increase access to palliative care services. Address benefits and risks of complementary medicine.

* Heighten awareness of the importance of rescreening and follow- up visits for those at higher risk of breast cancer.

* Address long-term issues of education, employment and insurance coverage for survivors of childhood cancer; increase awareness of late effects of treatment.

* Increase enforcement of recent law limiting teen use of tanning beds and booths.

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(Red Orbit, By Lindy Washburn, Staff Writer, June 5, 2008, The Bergen Record)


The information contained in these articles may or may not be in agreement with my own opinions. They are not posted as medical advice of any kind.

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