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CDC Celebrates World Cancer Day

Posted on by DCPC

Photo of Dr. Lisa C. Richardson

By Lisa C. Richardson, MD, MPH
Director of CDC’s Division of Cancer Prevention and Control

Whether you’re a busy school teacher, parent, or doctor, you probably don’t take the time to reflect on the things you’ve done well, because if you do, other important items on your to-do list might be neglected. But slowing to reflect on our accomplishments can allow us to see more clearly what’s around us, behind us, and in front of us.

In honor of World Cancer Day on February 4th, I’m going to pause for a moment to share with you what CDC has done to help improve cancer prevention, early detection, and treatment; to raise awareness about cancer; and educate people with cancer.

As the director of CDC’s Division of Cancer Prevention and Control (DCPC), I’m proud of CDC’s battle against cancer. Over the last few years, CDC has made strides in several areas:

  • Skin cancer prevention. Rates of skin cancer increased every year over the last several decades. The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Prevent Skin Cancer, released in July, 2014, brought needed national attention to this major public health issue. Last year, we launched a new digital media effort aimed at helping non-Hispanic white men who are 35 to 50 years old lower their skin cancer risk. We need to continue working with our partners inside and outside of government to raise awareness about the threat from skin cancer, especially among the youngest of us.CDC and its partners in skin cancer prevention have made critical progress, but much work remains. To see the most recent data available and a summary of developments and success stories, check out CDC’s 2016 Skin Cancer Prevention Progress Report.
  • Colorectal cancer screening. Of cancers affecting both men and women, cancer of the colon and rectum is the second leading cause of death from cancer in the United States, but it doesn’t have to be. An increase in screening rates will reduce illness and death from colorectal cancer.Colorectal cancer screening has been a priority for CDC starting in 1999 with the Screen for Life campaign, progressing to the 2011 inception of the Colorectal Cancer Control Program, and continuing with our joint leadership role with the American Cancer Society in the 80% by 2018 Initiative launched in 2014. Colorectal cancer screening is a longstanding objective of the Healthy People Initiative, and is one of the 26 leading health indicators for Healthy People 2020. Of the 26 objectives, colorectal cancer screening is one of 10 that are improving. The result of efforts by CDC and partners is that 2.9 million more people were up-to-date with colorectal screening in 2015 than in 2013.
  • Breast and cervical cancer screening. Through the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (NBCCEDP), CDC developed provider networks in every state to provide low-income, uninsured, and medically underserved women access to breast and cervical cancer screenings and diagnostic services.Since 1991, NBCCEDP-funded programs have served more than 4.9 million women and provided more than 12 million breast and cervical cancer screening exams. The exams identified more than 70,997 breast cancers (in situ and invasive cancers combined), 3,845 invasive cervical cancers, and 175,688 premalignant cervical lesions, of which 40% were high-grade.
  • Educational resources for people with cancer. Although many of our division’s programs target cancer prevention and control, I am proud of an educational program developed for people already facing cancer, treatment, and the side effects that come with both. The Preventing Infections in Cancer Patients program uses practical guidance, plain language, and resources for cancer patients, their caregivers, and providers about steps they can take to stay healthy during their cancer treatment.

For far too many of us, cancer isn’t just a public health issue. It’s personal. CDC and its partner organizations will continue efforts to prevent and control cancer and be a resource for cancer survivors. Let’s continue to track our successes, recognize areas that need improvement, and identify opportunities to work together.

Posted on by DCPC

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