|DOH Home >> Press Releases|
PO Box 360
Trenton, NJ 08625-0360
|Clifton R. Lacy, M.D. |
For Further Information Contact:
“Because of Governor James E. McGreevey’s commitment to make our state a national leader in the fight against cancer,
In the last three years,
Working with staff in each county, the Department of Health and Senior Services has conducted a statewide needs assessment and is creating a publicly accessible database of all cancer-related programs and resources in
Based on the statewide needs assessment, the department is also preparing reports on each county describing population, cancer burden, gaps in services and recommended next steps.
“We are now taking our work to the county level, where local coalitions can undertake projects tailored to that county’s needs,” said Eddy Bresnitz, M.D., state epidemiologist and senior assistant commissioner. “This could include, for example, creating outreach programs to educate particular ethnic groups about the importance of cancer screening.”
Commissioner Lacy created the Task Force on Cancer Clusters in
As part of its work, the task force sponsored two conferences -- one on best practices in cancer cluster investigation and one on communicating cancer risk to concerned communities -- that featured presentations by national experts.
Chaired by Dr. Bresnitz, the 14-member task force included cancer activists, public health and environmental officials, and academic experts in environmental and occupational health.
The report made 15 recommendations in four areas: cancer data and the State Cancer Registry, responding to suspected cancer clusters, cancer cluster surveillance, and the role of various agencies involved in the issue.
“Educating communities about cancer and providing high-quality cancer data are central to our departmental mission. The task force has issued a number of important recommendations for improvement in these areas, many of which are well underway,” Commissioner Lacy said.
Recognizing the importance of risk communication, the task force set aside funds for
“This grant funding will support innovative research that can improve the ways we communicate about cancer and help the public better understand cancer risks and the investigation of suspected cancer clusters,” Dr. Bresnitz said.
Because it is a vital resource for cancer cluster investigations, the State Cancer Registry must continue to be adequately funded so that its data can continue to be accurate and timely, the task force recommended. The current state budget devotes $1.5 million to the Registry, which has continued to receive Gold Certification status annually from the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries.
The department recently released its cancer statistics for 2002, the most recent year for complete data. Maps of county cancer incidence and mortality rates will soon be available to the public on the department’s website. Both the 2002 cancer data and the task force report may be viewed at http://nj.gov/health/cancer/statistics.htm.
In addition, the department has already expanded the amount of data collected through the New Jersey Behavioral Risk Factor Survey, which is part of the CDC’s nationwide survey monitoring health-related behaviors and chronic conditions. This will produce meaningful information on a county’s smoking rates, which can be useful to researchers trying to understand more completely the occurrence of cancer at the local level.
The department is also preparing a “Citizens’ Guide to Cancer Clusters in
# # #
Department of Health
P. O. Box 360, Trenton, NJ 08625-0360