Delaware Cancer Consortium
Although our cancer incidence is still above the national average, that number has dropped. It’s part of a downward trend we’re seeing nationally.
For breast cancer, our incidence rates are now below the national average. Mortality rates nationally and in Delaware are lower overall. But we know that cancer is a complex disease and that many of the tasks we are undertaking will continue to help us reach our goal, to reverse the trend that we recognized five years ago, to be among states ranked among the lowest for cancer incidence and mortality in the nation.
What can be done
- Reimburse all Delawareans for colorectal, prostate, breast and cervical cancer screenings—adding a cervical cancer vaccine for girls and young women.
- Make sure targeted populations know about all the cancer services available to them.
- Bring more screenings via mobile outreach to targeted populations.
- Remove barriers that keep people from getting screened by examining deductibles and co-pays and partnering with insurance companies to get more people screened and enrolled in risk reduction programs.
- Take information about cancer screening, prevention, treatment and survivorship into the workplace and encourage employers to be advocates for both screenings and cancer survivors.
- Continue programs such as Quitline and QuitNet to result in even greater reduction of tobacco use.
- Extend cancer treatment coverage from one to two years.
- Reduce prostate, breast and colorectal cancer mortality rates among African American men and women.
- Continue to acquire relevant data, evaluate it and share it with all committees.
- Continue the Cancer Care Coordination Program to eliminate the barriers to cancer care.
- Continue to monitor the air and bodies of water in our state for carcinogenic substances.
- Improve information about clinical trials and make sure cancer patients know they are an option for them.
- Review medical records to get an update on quality measures for specific types of cancer.
- Address survivorship issues by creating holistic programs and rehabilitation, offering the services of wellness coaches and training health care providers on palliative and end-of-life care.
It’s been four years since we began our quest to lower cancer incidence and mortality rates in Delaware. There are new words in our vocabulary lately. Words like progress. Achievement. Promise. And hope. They’ve appeared because we’ve done more than just talk about what needed to be done. We’ve implemented a plan, addressed specific needs and even supported the passing of legislation, like the Clean Indoor Air Act, to hardwire change.
We realize cancer is a complex disease and there is no one silver bullet. But we have made changes that are starting to make a significant impact on the health of Delawareans.
In the next four years, we want to eliminate all race/ethnicity and economic disparities in cancer. Our ultimate goal is to work toward having the lowest cancer incidence and mortality rates in the nation. And we want to ensure people in Delaware who are diagnosed with cancer get the best possible care in an efficient, person-centric way.
As we move forward, we’ll tackle more health issues including risk factors for cancer, identifying and addressing the root causes of racial/ethnic disparities and prevention of cervical cancer through the HPV vaccine. The reason is obvious. Every change we make may mean another life saved.