Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced new actions to address higher rates of cancer in the Warren County area. A recent State Department of Health study found poor nutrition, tobacco use and alcohol consumption to be likely contributors to certain elevated cancers for the area. Based on the results of the study, this plan has a primary focus on adopting strategies to improve healthy eating and to reduce tobacco use and alcohol consumption in the area. The Governor has also directed the Department of Health to work with local public health partners to identify interventions that support healthy lifestyles, a key component of preventing and reducing risk for cancer. Additionally, the initiative includes a Community Cancer Prevention in Action grant opportunity of $225,000 annually for up to three years to support local cancer prevention interventions, for a total of $675,000.
"New York has taken aggressive action to combat cancer and continues to provide critical support and services to communities and individuals who are most at risk," Governor Cuomo said. "I am directing DOH to put a plan in place to address the challenges rural communities face and immediately implement new measures to help curb the Warren County area's high cancer rate."
Community Cancer Prevention in Action is a State Department of Health program that supports local cancer prevention and risk reduction interventions in multiple communities throughout New York State.
In addition, Glens Falls Hospital and Warren County Health Services are working with other public health partners, such as the Adirondack Rural Health Network, to develop community improvement plans that will identify interventions aimed at supporting healthier lifestyles as methods of preventing cancer risk in rural communities.
Department researchers investigated Warren County because the county had the highest rate of all cancers combined in New York State based on 2011-2015 data. The study was narrowed to examine incidences of nine types of cancer: oral, colorectal, laryngeal, lung, brain and other nervous system, thyroid, esophageal, melanoma of the skin and leukemia. Current and former tobacco use, poor nutrition, alcohol consumption and HPV infection were found to be likely contributing factors. More detailed information about this study is available here here.
New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said, "Cancer is, unfortunately, one of the most common diseases with one in two men and one in three women diagnosed with some type of cancer in their lifetime. Data from this study will help connect New Yorkers with the tools to help reduce risk for cancer when possible and live longer, healthier lives."
Assembly Member Dan Stec said, "Cancer is affecting many families in our communities. I cannot stress enough the importance of finding ways to combat and prevent this deadly disease. This funding will help to strengthen initiatives directed towards making healthier lifestyle choices and reducing cancer rates among our residents."
Ronald Conover, Chairman of the Warren County Board of Supervisors Chairman said, "Cancer is life changing and affects not only patients, but also their loved ones. Thanks to Governor Cuomo's Cancer Research Initiative, we now have a better understanding of the factors that can lead to elevated cancer rates, and the types of resources available locally to help connect people with care."
Warren County Administrator Ryan Moore said, "I would like to thank the dedicated employees of the New York State Department of Health for conducting this study and presenting their findings to concerned Warren County residents. We appreciate Governor Cuomo's leadership in promoting public health in our region, and we thank him for providing state assistance in support of local cancer prevention."
Glens Falls Mayor Daniel Hall said, "Whether it's friends or associates or our own families, cancer touches us all. We appreciate the Governor's support in making cancer prevention and intervention priorities as part of the Governor's Cancer Research Initiative."
A meeting with New York State Department of Health officials to discuss findings and answer questions will be held in Warren County this evening, November 7, at 7pm:
Adirondack Hall, Northwest Bay Conference Center
SUNY Adirondack Community College
640 Bay Road, Queensbury, NY
In addition to the Warren County study area, investigations of elevated cancer incidence were conducted in the Centereach, Farmingville and Selden area of Suffolk County; Staten Island (Richmond County) and East Buffalo/Western Cheektowaga (Erie County). The goals of the studies were to further understand factors contributing to higher rates of cancer in certain regions of the state to better inform cancer prevention and screening efforts statewide and promote access to high-quality care. Examining potential trends in these regions aids the Department in determining which cancer prevention interventions to promote and which diagnostic and treatment services would be most beneficial when connecting patients with resources.
By law, all cases of cancer diagnosed or treated in New York are reported by their health care provider to the New York State Cancer Registry. New York's Cancer Registry was established in 1940 as one of the first cancer registries in the country and has since earned many accolades, including being designated by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) as a Registry of Excellence and receiving Gold Certification by the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries for its completeness and accuracy. The regional cancer studies were based on data reported to the Cancer Registry and augmented with data from other sources.
Demographics and socioeconomic status of an area, behavioral and lifestyle factors such as smoking, and the occupational and industrial history of each area were considered. DOH also consulted with the Department of Environmental Conservation to evaluate sources of data on environmental factors. These evaluations did not identify any widespread unusual environmental exposures that could have accounted for the cancer elevations in any of the areas of study. More information is available here.