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College of Public Health

Coalition to release State Comprehensive Cancer Plan

April 22, 2009
JOHNSON CITY A plan to address the alarming statistics regarding the incidence and mortality rate of cancer in Tennessee will be unveiled on Thursday, April 30, by representatives of the Tennessee Comprehensive Cancer Control Coalition.

Their meeting will begin at 4 p.m. at Rocky Mount Living History Museum in Piney Flats.

The numbers in Tennessee paint a scary picture, said Bruce Behringer, assistant vice president for rural and community health and community partnerships at East Tennessee State University and co-chair of the coalition.

Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) ranks Tennessee as 20 th in the country for the number of new cancer cases in 2005, which translates to 468 diagnoses per 100,000 persons.  That is higher than the national average, but even more startling was that the mortality rates are also the highest in the country.  With 210 cancer-related deaths per 100,000 men and women, the Volunteer State ranks third in this category.

The coalition has developed a State Comprehensive Cancer Plan designed to address these issues.  Numerous health care professionals, cancer care organizations, and community advocates provided input in creating this plan that outlines specific statewide activities to address prevention and early detection of cancer, treatment, survivorship, and palliative care.

Efforts to reduce tobacco-related, womens colorectal, prostate, skin, and childhood cancers are also discussed in the plan.

While neighboring states such as Virginia and North Carolina fared better in the CDC report, the news was far from encouraging in Kentucky, which ranked fourth in new cases and first in national death rates.

Behringer hopes one outcome of the meeting will be that residents of Northeast Tennessee organize their own regional coalition and help address the statewide devastation caused by cancer.

The presentation is free and open to the public.  For more information, or to request special accommodations, contact Behringer at (423) 439-7809 or via .

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