State Cancer Control Plans: The Science of Collaboration
In Michigan, they have a plan: By the end of the decade, the number of new cases of invasive cervical cancer will be slashed by 50 percent. In the same time frame, 80 percent of women in the state will receive an age- and risk-appropriate screening for breast cancer via clinical breast examination and mammography. The Great Lake state has similar hopes for colorectal cancer screening. And if health care providers in Michigan are unclear about the appropriate screening recommendations for these cancers, they can visit the Michigan Cancer Consortium Web site and print off a concise one-page summary of screenings, the age at which they should begin, and their recommended frequency.
All of this is part of Michigan's state cancer control plan, developed by the Michigan Cancer Consortium over the past decade with input from its 80-plus members which, among others, include health insurers, major medical centers, advocacy groups, and two NCI-designated Cancer Centers.
In partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) National Comprehensive Cancer Control Program (NCCCP), all states are currently developing or implementing comprehensive cancer control plans, as are U.S. territories and a growing number of tribes. According to Dr. Jon Kerner, deputy director, Research Dissemination and Diffusion, in the NCI Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences, comprehensive cancer control is an emerging model that involves a broad range of activities to integrate research with practice to maximize the impact of limited resources.
The development and implementation of state cancer control plans has been driven in large part by national partnerships between public- and private-sector stakeholders, including NCI, CDC, the American Cancer Society (ACS), C-Change, the American College of Surgeons, and a number of other national organizations. As is the case in Michigan, NCI-designated Cancer Centers often participate at the state level.
With funds from NCCCP and other sources, explains Dr. Kerner, state, tribal, and territorial health agencies develop individual cancer plans to address their own unique cancer burden and resources.
"As they implement cancer plans, they integrate expertise and efforts from many disciplines, including population science, clinical and basic research, public health and clinical practice, health education, public policy, and health communication," he says.
Among other things, NCI has provided support to NCCCP to train state teams on the principles and practice of integrating cancer control science with comprehensive cancer control plans, and collaborated with CDC, ACS, and other federal agencies on the development of Cancer Control PLANET, a Web-based portal that provides tools and resources to help states design, implement, and evaluate evidence-based comprehensive cancer control programs.
When it comes to cancer control planning, Dr. Kerner stresses, collaboration continues to be key.
"We're enhancing our investments in interagency collaborations," he says. "Not only does it reduce duplication of effort, but it's really serving to integrate science with service across the cancer control continuum."