Kicking Cancer Out of Your Community: Strategies for Cancer Prevention

Originally presented on September 18, 2014

Suzanne Kuon, MS
Director of Cancer Control Policy Initiatives
New York State Department of Health
Bureau of Chronic Disease Control

Glynnis S. Hunt, MS
Public Health Education Coordinator
Schenectady County Public Health Services

Mary McFadden, CPH
Supervising Public Health Educator
Broome County Health Department

Cancer prevention and control activities in the NYS Department of Health (NYSDOH) are guided by the 2012–2017 NYS Comprehensive Cancer Control Plan (the Plan) and the NYSDOH Prevention Agenda. Cancer prevention and early detection are priority goal areas of the Plan.   The NYSDOH began supporting implementation of the Plan strategies specific to cancer prevention in January 2013 through two community demonstration projects. The overall aim of these projects is to mobilize communities to be supportive of strategies that focus on policy, system, and environmental (PSE) changes in order to reduce the risk of cancer among community residents. The demonstration project work plans are built around four key activities: 1) educating and engaging communities, 2) mobilizing and empowering communities, 3) engaging organizational decision makers, and 4) educating governmental decision makers. This program will highlight three cancer prevention initiatives implemented and evaluated by Schenectady County and Broome County.  

1) Establishing a food-procurement policy that defines nutrition standards may help shape social norms by changing the eating habits of people working for or visiting a particular venue and support the NYSDOH’s obesity and cancer prevention efforts. The first initiative aims to increase access to nutritious foods by improving food-procurement standards within community-based organizations and one municipality.

2) Breastfeeding exclusively and for longer periods of time (at least 6 months) is linked to lower rates of childhood obesity and lower risks of breast and ovarian cancer in mothers who breastfeed.  The second initiative aims to encourage pediatric, family and/or obstetric offices to adopt policies to promote breastfeeding over formula feeding.  

3) A recent study found that employees with paid leave were more likely to undergo cancer screenings at recommended intervals. The third initiative aims to remove barriers for getting timely recommended cancer screenings by collaborating with a municipality to improve leave policies for municipal workers.

Learning Objectives
After watching this webcast participants will be able to:

  • Describe how policy, system and environmental (PSE) work relates to cancer prevention and early detection.
  • Identify at least two public health initiatives to work on PSE change in communities.
  • List key activities to mobilize communities to be supportive of strategies that focus on PSE changes to reduce the risk of cancer.