Cancer Prevention Works Newsletter

Cancer Prevention Works

The monthly Cancer Prevention Works newsletter provides the latest information about activities and accomplishments in CDC’s Division of Cancer Prevention and Control.

Latest Issue

April 9, 2020

Working Together to Slow the Spread of COVID-19

Many communities across the country are seeing different levels of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. While anyone can get COVID-19, people with underlying medical conditions such as cancer patients receiving treatment, and survivors, have a higher risk of serious complications from COVID-19. This high risk is due to a weakened immune system from cancer and its treatments. Caregivers and family members are part of the first line of defense in preventing cancer patients and survivors from getting infected with this new virus. But it doesn’t stop there—everyone can do their part to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in communities. For cancer patients, caregivers, and family members, this guide offers steps to stay healthy while staying home. Learn more about what you can do to not get sick, and tips for handwashing and daily life.

Using Data to Improve Cancer Prevention and Control

April is National Cancer Control Month, and this raises awareness of efforts to reduce the number of cancer cases and deaths and improve the health of cancer survivors. CDC’s National Comprehensive Cancer Control Program (NCCCP), works with agencies and partners to put proven strategies in action to prevent and control cancer. Strategies include educating people about vaccines, healthy choices, and screenings that can prevent or find cancer early, and help cancer survivors lower their risk of getting cancer again. Thanks to cancer registries, including ones funded by the National Program of Cancer Registries (NPCR), we know where to focus these strategies.

Cancer registry data improve understanding of what groups are affected by cancer and helps focus resources in places that need it the most. A new blog post shares how NPCR is using cloud-based data capture to get cancer data faster in order to quickly connect people to the care and support they may need.

CDC’s Tips Campaign Features New Powerful Stories to Help People Quit Smoking

For every person who dies because of smoking, at least 30 people are living with a smoking-related disease. Smoking causes cancer, heart disease, chronic lung diseases, and other conditions that put people at higher risk for serious illness from COVID-19. CDC’s national tobacco education campaign, Tips From Former Smokers® (Tips), shares personal stories of real people living with serious long-term health effects due to smoking and secondhand smoke exposure. The 2020 Tips campaign features new stories in ads available now on television, streaming radio, and social media platforms. One story shares Assad’s experience of becoming a caregiver at age 19 when his mother was diagnosed with cancer. Tips provides a voice to the more than 16 million people living with smoking-related diseases and helps connect people with free resources to help them quit smoking.

New CPSTF Recommendation on Community Health Workers and Cancer Screening

Screening checks your body for cancer before you have symptoms and helps find cancer at an early stage, when treatment is likely to work best. The Community Preventive Services Task Force (CPSTF) helps build the evidence base to promote and increase cancer screenings for underserved populations. The CPSTF recommends interventions that engage community health workers to increase screening for breast, cervical, or colorectal cancer. These interventions use approaches such as group education to increase community demand and assistance with appointment scheduling to improve community access to screening services.

Evidence shows an increase in screening rates when community health workersexternal icon deliver interventions independently or as part of a team.

Research Spotlight

New from the American Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology: ASCCP Risk-Based Management Consensus Guidelinesexternal icon are designed to safely triage individuals with abnormal cervical cancer screening results and address the need for simplicity and stability in clinical guidelines while anticipating continued technologic advances in cervical screening methods. These guidelines were developed by nearly 20 professional organizations and patient advocates.

Did You Know?

  • Each year in the United States, more than 1.6 million people are diagnosed with cancer.
  • Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces can help stop the spread of COVID-19 to family members who may be at high risk of getting very sick. Surfaces include doorknobs, light switches, countertops, faucets, phones, keyboards and others.

Previous Issue

March 12, 2020

New CDC Vital Signs Highlights the Importance of On-Time Screening for Colorectal Cancer

Every year in the United States, about 140,000 people get colorectal (colon) cancer. Most new cases (about 90%) occur in people who are age 50 or older. Colorectal cancer can be prevented with screening, which can find polyps (abnormal growths) in the colon or rectum so they can be removed before turning into cancer.

A new CDC Vital Signs reports that only 1 in 2 adults are up-to-date with colorectal cancer screening by their early 50s (ages 50 to 54), compared to 81% in their early 70s. Early stages of polyps often occur without symptoms. That’s why getting recommended screenings is the key to preventing colorectal cancer or finding it early, when treatment works best.

There are six different screening test options for colorectal cancer, including some that can be done at home. Talk to your doctor about a screening schedule and which test is right for you. Don’t wait. Be sure to get screened on time starting at 50 to prevent or find this cancer early.

Join us in promoting Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month with our colorectal cancer resources that can help you learn more about your risk, screening, and test options.

New Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer

Across the United States, cancer death rates are decreasing. The new Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer finds that for all cancer sites combined, cancer death rates continued to decline in men, women, adolescents, and children from 2001 to 2017. Cancer death rates decreased 1.5% on average per year during 2001 to 2017, decreasing more rapidly among men (1.8% on average) than among women (1.4% on average). Overall, cancer incidence rates decreased 0.6% on average per year during 2012 through 2016.

For the first time, this report provides rates and trends for the most common cancers among children younger than 15 years, and among adolescents and young adults aged 15 to 39 years. Among children, the most common cancer types were leukemia, brain and other nervous system cancers, and lymphoma. The most common cancer among adolescents and young adults was female breast cancer.

Most Adults Eligible for Lung Cancer Screening Are Not Getting It

Most cancer deaths in the United States are caused by lung cancer. Finding lung cancer at an early stage when treatment can be more effective may help reduce deaths related to lung cancer. Lung cancer screening with low-dose computed tomography (CT) is recommended every year for adults who are 55 to 80 years old, have a history of heavy smoking, and smoke now or have quit within the past 15 years.

A recent study published in CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) looks at lung cancer screening data from 10 states. The study found that 87% of adults who met the screening criteria did not report receiving a CT scan to check for lung cancer in the last 12 months. Study results suggest that more efforts to educate health care providers and to provide decision tools might increase recommended lung cancer screening.

New Screening Recommendation for Hepatitis C Virus Infection May Help Reduce Liver Cancers

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) has released a new recommendation in screening for hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection.external icon The USPSTF recommends screening for HCV infection in all adults aged 18 to 79 without known liver disease, symptoms, or risk. This replaces the previous recommendation in 2013, which recommended screening for HCV infection only in adults born between 1945 and 1965 and people at high risk for infection. Most adults need to be screened only once. People with continued risk such as injection drug use should be screened regularly.

If left untreated, an HCV infection can lead to hepatitis C, a liver disease that can cause long-term health problems such as liver damage, cirrhosis (scarring of the liver), and liver cancer. Expanding the age for HCV screening can help identify infections earlier, when timely treatments may prevent or reduce liver cancers related to hepatitis C.

Research Spotlight

Did You Know?

  • A colonoscopy is just one type of screening test for colorectal cancer. Several types of screening tests can be used to prevent colorectal cancer or find it early so that treatment works best.
  • People who have cancer or have had cancer in the past are at an increased risk for infections because of their weakened immune system. Make sure you keep your hands clean by washing with soap and water to help prevent infections.