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Developing a Comprehensive Cancer Control Plan

Puerto Rico Central Cancer Registry

In 2007, the Puerto Rico Department of Health named the University of Puerto Rico Medical Sciences Campus a bona fide agent for CDC's National Comprehensive Cancer Control Program. Puerto Rico was among the last group of states and territories entering the program and thus earlier in the development of the state cancer control plan compared to other states. In its grant application, Puerto Rico proposed to spend the first year developing the plan and the rest of the funding period in implementation. This self-imposed undertaking was huge and the time frame very restricted. However, a group of cancer stakeholders has been working for many years as an unofficial cancer coalition. With the program in place, our efforts took a structured path that could allow us to comply with the proposed work.

The Cancer Control Coalition was in charge of developing the Puerto Rico Comprehensive Cancer Control Plan 2007–2012. Within the Coalition, the Puerto Rico Central Cancer Registry (PRCCR) was the key component of the Cancer Data and Surveillance Work Group. As such, development of the core of data for the assessment of the cancer status in the Island fell upon the Registry. The portrayal of the cancer status (incidence, mortality, survival, prevalence, stage at diagnosis, and geographic distribution) comes from Registry data. Our data were used for planning, prioritizing, and evaluation, and will be used to measure the outcomes of the proposed cancer control interventions.

Puerto Rico now has a comprehensive cancer control plan that serves as a foundation to establish the state public policy in cancer control. Legislation was developed incorporating the Puerto Rico Comprehensive Cancer Control Plan 2007–2012 as the state official public policy. The Puerto Rico Senate approved the project (P. del S. 1016) unanimously in October 2009. The project is currently in calendar for vote at the Puerto Rico House of Representatives, after a positive recommendation by the House Health Commission.

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