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Increasing Skin Cancer Awareness

Cancer Data Registry of Idaho

Among whites—who are at the highest risk for melanoma—Idaho had the 11th highest melanoma incidence rate in the United States from 2001–2005. New diagnoses of melanoma increased at a rate of about 3.6% per year in Idaho from 1975 to 2009. The rate of increase was higher for males (4.2% per year) than for females (2.8% per year). Idaho had the highest melanoma death rate nationally from 2001–2005, 26% higher than the U.S. average. About 40 people in Idaho die of melanoma every year.

The Cancer Data Registry of Idaho (CDRI) published data on Idaho's melanoma incidence rates, along with mortality data from the Idaho Bureau of Vital Records and Health Statistics and sunburn prevalence data from the Idaho Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. A detailed analysis by health district and county was conducted to determine where skin cancer prevention and early detection efforts should be targeted. This analysis launched several data-driven initiatives in Idaho—

  • The Idaho Comprehensive Cancer Control Program initiated media placement for skin cancer awareness messaging in targeted areas of the state.
  • The Idaho Comprehensive Cancer Control Program launched a "No Sun for Baby" campaign, an educational program conducted through childbirth classes. Two health districts in eastern Idaho were selected based on CDRI data to be funded for initial implementation. About 3,000 parents were educated during the first two years of the campaign, and it was recently launched statewide through contracts with health districts.

CDRI presented the data to stakeholders of the Comprehensive Cancer Alliance for Idaho (CCAI), a non-profit organization comprised of individuals and organizations from health care and professional organizations, cancer-related and other non-profit organizations, and individuals touched by cancer. CCAI aims to coordinate efforts to address the cancer burden by strengthening alliances and encouraging collaboration to address the continuum of cancer care including prevention, early detection and diagnosis, treatment, quality of life and survivorship, and end of life.

CCAI stakeholders made skin cancer prevention and early detection a high priority based on data presented by CDRI, and began working with the Idaho Comprehensive Cancer Control Program to plan a statewide Skin Cancer Summit in June 2011. This summit mobilized dermatologists and other clinicians to increase prevention and early detection efforts within their practices. In addition, many CCAI stakeholders such as hospitals, the American Cancer Society, and the state employee wellness program have hosted screening events due to the increased awareness of skin cancer rates in Idaho.

Melanoma cases that are diagnosed and treated in physicians' offices may be underreported. Idaho is using local melanoma cancer rate information to target health care providers and pathology laboratories to ensure complete reporting of melanoma cases statewide.

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