CANCER IS THE SECOND LEADING CAUSE of death in Georgia. In 2013, an estimated 16,630 Georgians died of cancer. The two leading cancer killers in Georgia are lung and colon cancer. And, each day, more than 120 more Georgians are diagnosed with cancer. That is an average of more than 41,000 new cancer cases each year. Lung, colorectal, breast, and prostate cancer account for 51 percent of all cancer deaths in Georgia. While the burden of cancer is shared by all Georgians, cancer incidence and mortality is disproportionately greater among men and among minority and medically underserved populations.
The Georgia Department of Public Health and other members of the Georgia Cancer Control Consortium, including the Regional Cancer Coalitions of Georgia envision a future for our state that is free from cancer deaths and cancer related health disparities. However, the causes of cancer and its prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and care are multi-dimensional. A person’s health is not only the product of the health care that she or he receives, but also the result of genetic factors, behavior, and the physical, social, and policy environment in which she or he lives. As a result, there is no single approach or intervention that can reduce the impact of cancer in Georgia. Therefore, multi-faceted and layered approaches to the prevention and control of cancer are needed.
This strategic plan is the State of Georgia’s roadmap for comprehensive cancer prevention and control. It is a product of extensive input from stakeholders, and describes Georgia’s eight priority areas for moving forward —
1. Cancer risk reduction – tobacco and obesity
2. Vaccination for human papilloma virus
3. Breast and cervical cancer screening
4. Colorectal cancer screening
5. Lung cancer screening
6. Quality cancer diagnosis and treatment
7. Access to palliative care and survivorship
8. Patient Case Management and Care Coordination
The plan builds on the strengths of Georgia’s cancer prevention, research, and treatment communities. It lays out a path forward to reduce the number of cancer deaths in Georgia, maintain Georgia’s place as a national and international leader in cancer research, and improve the quality of life for those being treated for cancer, or who have survived cancer. Efforts over the next five years will focus on linking public and private resources to increase access to evidence-based interventions across the cancer continuum: prevention, early detection and screening, diagnosis and treatment, and survivorship, with palliative care as needed for those living with a cancer diagnosis.
Statewide leadership, including leadership from the government, business, academic, and non-profit sectors is also essential to cancer prevention and control. The Georgia Department of Public Health, through and with the Consortium and its membership, will implement this plan and provide the statewide leadership necessary to bring together communities and resources for cancer prevention and control.