Posts Tagged ‘cancer’

The Top 5 Killers

May 14th, 2014

top-5-killersThe Top 5 things that kill people in the US are: heart disease, cancer, lung disease such as emphysema and chronic bronchitis, stroke and injuries.  In fact- these 5 conditions cause 63% of all deaths in the US — which is nearly 18,000 people each year in AZ (about 50 people/day in AZ).

This week the CDC released its first report on potentially preventable deaths from those causes in each one of the 50 states. The data suggest we could prevent at least a third of those deaths.  We already know how to do it — now we need to act on what we know. Whether it’s by investing resources, using proven strategies or coordinating with health care systems, we have within our communities the strengths to help people live long and healthy lives. Even identifying and focusing on just one issue that can be addressed in each community will make a difference.

Tobacco use is a major factor in four out of the five leading causes of death: heart disease, cancer, lung disease and stroke. It causes about a third of heart disease and cancer, and most emphysema. Getting the last 17% of Arizonans who still smoke to quit will make a huge difference in the length and quality of their lives.

We continue to make strides to get Arizonans to Kick the Habit.  Last year the adult smoking rate dropped 2 more percentage points…  going from 19% 2011 to 17% today.  Even more dramatic is the youth rate, which fell from 17% to 14%. We’ve had a 30% drop in our AZ youth smoking rate over the last 4 years meaning that there are 110,000 fewer kids smokers today than four years ago.

We developed a new strategic plan to improve the effectiveness of our smoking cessation resources via the Arizona Smokers’ Helpline.  A simple cost-effective campaign was created in 2010 that utilized ADHS staff as extras in their “Call Center” campaign, and it  has been very successful. The ASHLine also launched Project Quit…  which is our initiative designed to showcase the quit process.

Let’s Get Screened

April 10th, 2014

letsgetscreenedColorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in Arizona.  Across men and women, all age groups, races, and ethnicities, about ½ of all colorectal cancer diagnoses in Arizona are late-stage, which are more difficult to treat. Our Fit at Fifty HealthCheck Program screens about 1,500 Arizonans per year by providing Fecal Immunochemical Tests and colonoscopies for individuals who qualify. For more information about the Fit at Fifty program, contact Emily Wozniak or Virginia Warren.

The CDC, the American Cancer Society, National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable, and Health Resources Services Administration have kicked off the “80% by 2018” initiative to prioritize colorectal cancer screenings nationwide. This movement aims to get 80% of Americans screened for colorectal cancer by 2018. This is a result of the facts surrounding the status of colorectal cancer screening nationwide: not enough Americans are up-to-date on their screenings, and too many are being diagnosed with colorectal cancer at late stages. According to the American Cancer Society, the lifetime risk of developing colorectal cancer is about 1 in 20.

Arizona’s First Ever State Health Assessment

February 13th, 2014

Today we published Arizona’s first ever comprehensive State Health Assessment. The objective of the State Health Assessment is to give Arizona’s public health and health care systems a clear tool to help drive future decision-making and resource allocation as we collectively design and implement evidence-based interventions to improve health and wellness outcomes across Arizona.  

The Assessment uses Arizona-specific data to assess the state of the public’s health in Arizona and has been a collaborative effort among all of the health departments in each AZ county as well as the ADHS.  The 15 priority health issues in the Report are obesity, tobacco use, substance abuse, healthcare associated infections, suicides, teen pregnancy, creating healthy communities, behavioral health services, diabetes, heart disease, other chronic diseases (cancer, respiratory disease, asthma), accidents and injuries, oral health, access to well care, and access to health insurance. 

Each public health indicator is summarized for its significance and scope, trending, and comparative analysis against national data.  The report also provides in-depth analysis for a number of indicators in each of Arizona’s 126 Community Health Analysis Areas. 

Please take time to look at the State Health Assessment and the county level community health assessments.  After you’re done, we’d appreciate hearing from you through the survey monkey as we take the next giant step to create Arizona’s first State Health Improvement Plan.

Sitting is the new smoking

October 23rd, 2013

Public health embarked on a smoking revolution over the last few decades, kicking it into high gear to provide programs and policies to help Arizonans change their smoking habits. While by no means has the tobacco battle been won, America is currently undergoing another revolution—a walking revolution. Physical activity is not new territory in public health. Public health professionals have been encouraging adults to achieve at least 150 minutes of moderate or vigorous physical activity per week.  Now, though, the public health world is taking a step back and promoting the simplest of physical activities: walking or biking. A recent study from Kansas State University looked at the association between sitting time and chronic diseases. The study found that people who sat for more than four hours per day were significantly more likely to report having a chronic disease such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure. 

The Surgeon General has started the “Everybody Walk” campaign, releasing a document entitled “A Walking Revolution: The moving making Americans Happier and Healthier,” developing a free App that tracks all aspects of your walk, and hinting at writing a call to action on walking. This call-to-action is being compared to the famous 1964 Surgeon General’s Report on the dangers of smoking, translating that message into the dangers of sitting. 

Here at ADHS we take an innovative approach to promote more walking and less sedentary behavior. Our focus is to create environments where the healthy choice, walking, is the easy choice. Our Empower program establishes policies in child care centers that decrease sedentary time and screen time, and increases physical activity of youngsters. The Arizona Nutrition Network has been infusing traditional nutrition education with physical activity. Community design initiatives have worked to establish environments where walking or riding a bike are the predominant means of transportation in a community, rather than driving a car. With walking being so simple, the question remains: how will you walk or bike today?


Guide to Community Prevention Services

October 22nd, 2013

Every so often- you run into a resource guide that stands above the rest.  I discovered one of those awhile back called the Guide to Community Preventive Services – and it’s a free resource to help you choose programs and policies to improve health and prevent disease in communities.  The easy-to-read resource guide answers questions like: 1) Which program and policy interventions have been proven effective; 2) Are there effective interventions that are right for my community; and 3) What might effective interventions cost and what’s the return on investment?  

There are modules on different public health topics- and the evidence-based information is printed in colorful, easy-to-read formats.  Subjects include much of our core strategic plan activities in health and wellness including: Adolescent Health; Alcohol; Asthma; Birth Defects; Cancer; Cardiovascular Disease; Diabetes; Emergency Preparedness; Health Communication; Health Equity; HIV/AIDS,STD’s, Pregnancy; Mental Health; Motor Vehicle Injury; Nutrition; Obesity; Oral Health; Physical Activity; Social Environment; Tobacco Use; Vaccines; Violence; and Worksites.  Learn more about The Community Guide, collaborators involved in its development and dissemination, and methods used to conduct the systematic reviews.

New AZ Cancer Report

August 22nd, 2013

Surveillance is a cornerstone of public health practice because it gives us the tools we need to identify priorities and craft effective interventions to improve outcomes.  Cancer surveillance is no exception.  Our Arizona Cancer Registry tracks and monitors the number and types of cancer cases in the state and publishes reports periodically.  Our new report shows that we’re continuing to have lower cancer rates than the rest of the country overall.  Prostate cancer is the most common diagnosed among men and breast cancer is the most common diagnosed among women.  

Lung cancer continues to be the deadliest cancer for all Arizonans, with 1,479 men and 1,185 women dying from lung cancer every year.  Folks can reduce their chances of dying from lung cancer if you smoke by stopping – visit or call 800-55-66-222 to find free help.

Vaccine Driving Down US HPV Rate

June 25th, 2013

This week, The Journal of Infectious Diseases published a study looking at the number of human papillomavirus infections in females before and after HPV vaccine was created (back in ’06).  The study found impressive results: a 56% decrease in HPV since the vaccine was introduced in 2006 (among girls between 14-19 years old).  This is a big deal because HPV is the most common sexually transmitted disease in the US and causes about 27,000 cases of cancer each year in men and women – mainly cervical and throat cancer.  The good news is that over 75% of these cancers are preventable because of the vaccine.  

Interestingly, these dramatic results were achieved even though only 35% of girls had completed the three-dose HPV vaccine series (37% in AZ).   If we could reach the 80% vaccination threshold we’d be able to prevent 50,000 cases of cervical cancer.  More information about HPV, cancers caused by HPV, and vaccine recommendations are available on CDCs HPV website.


Men’s Health Week Time to Think about Our Health

June 13th, 2013

This week is Men’s Health Week – the worldwide event happens every year before Father’s Day calling attention to the issues that affect men’s health. Many groups take the opportunity to talk about men’s health – we should be thinking about our health every week.  The top health issues that impact men’s health are also some of the easiest issues to prevent.  Heart disease and cancer are leading causes of death for men.  The best way to fight heart disease is exercise and sensible eating.  Our Healthy Living website has some interesting ideas on being active and choosing healthy foods. 

If you’re 50 or older or at higher risk, make a pledge to yourself and your family get checked for prostate and colorectal cancer. Men’s Health Week is the perfect opportunity to schedule an appointment.   

Stress also leads to health problems in men, including depression.  If you’re suffering from depression, it’s harder to be physically active and eat well. Sometimes a chat with a professional can put you back on track or a doctor may prescribe medication to help put your life back in balance. Most employers offer an Employee Assistance Program that will offer free or low cost access to a mental health professional.  The parity law also makes your regular health insurance provide access to mental health care. 

If you’re still smoking, stop.  Every puff of a cigarette or cigar takes time off your life. Nicotine is a highly addictive substance – quitting isn’t easy, but it’s not impossible. If you need help, call the ASHLine at 1-800-556-6222. 

Finally, consider getting a physical this year to identify hidden health conditions.  If you don’t do it for yourself, do it for your family.

AZ’s Trauma System: Moving to the Next Level

December 3rd, 2012

Injuries are the leading cause of death for Arizonans from age 1 to 44.  That means for the majority of the young and the middle-aged injury is more lethal than cancer, heart disease, hypertension and influenza combined.  The effectiveness of a State’s pre-hospital and Trauma System makes the difference when it comes to saving lives (and quality of life) from injuries.  That’s why we invited the American College of Surgeons to assess AZ’s Trauma System back in 2007…  to evaluate the effectiveness of our trauma system and to make recommendations.  

The main 2007 recommendations were to improve trauma care in the rural parts of the state by recruiting Level IV trauma centers in rural AZ, strengthen the State’s trauma registry, and to assess our system and make necessary updates to our state trauma plan.  We have.  

Over the last 3 ½ years, our EMS and Trauma System team has been able to recruit 17 rural hospitals (up from 0) into our trauma system.  For the first time, Arizona’s rural trauma patients have timely access to good trauma care.  Our State Trauma Registry has been strengthened by undergoing validation checks and audits and is now one of the best in the country, allowing us to conduct all kinds of research to improve care across the state.  Arizona’s trauma system today bears little resemblance to our system 4 years ago, and like any system, it’s important to re-assess how we’re doing and set new priorities to maximize our effectiveness.  

That’s why we invited the American College of Surgeons back last week…  to evaluate our system- to take a look at the progress we have made over the last several years and give us feedback on the best way to move forward- both in rural and urban Arizona.  The ACS met with our team and our EMS and hospital trauma Stakeholders- and we had great participation. 

The ACS had about a dozen nuts and bolts recommendations and 3 larger recommendations regarding AZ’s Trauma System in their report-out presentation. Their written report (in about 6 weeks) will recommend (among other things):

  1. A moratorium on new trauma center designations in the Valley and Tucson and at the same time recommending that the Department explore the statutory authority to have a “needs based” system for designation.
  2. During the moratorium (if we have one)- they recommend that we put together a destination protocol for the Valley for ambulance providers.
  3. Their report will recommend that we explore more effective ways to use the Prop 202 money that currently only goes to Level I Centers. 

We’ve just begun to explore the who, what, when, where, and how their initial recommendations. Once the actual written report comes in 5 or 6 weeks we’ll be in a better position to evaluate the recommendations. 

Finally…  three cheers for Dan Didier, Noreen Adlin, Donna Meyer, and Betty Yunick for preparing for this week’s evaluation.  To get ready, they had to respond to a detailed trauma system pre-review questionnaire; identify, copy and scan approximately 400 pages of trauma system reports developed over the past 5 years; and coordinate hotel and meeting room space for approximately 80 participants. Thanks!

Undy 5000

November 13th, 2012

For the 5th year in a row, we’re participating in the Undy 5000 fun walk/run on November 17th. This event helps increase awareness of colon cancer and encourages folks to bite the bullet and get screened.  The run raises money for the Colon Cancer Alliance and half the profits stay here in Arizona. Half is spent on treatment services for Arizonans diagnosed with colorectal cancer through our Fit at 50 Healthcheck Program. This program provides colorectal cancer screening to low-income men and women between 50-64 who are uninsured. It also helps pay for treatment when uninsured Arizonans are diagnosed with colorectal cancer. 

Anna Alonzo is our Team Captain this year and she’s recruiting participants. Last year our “Undy Team” recruited 45 people and raised over $2,000. ADHS also won the “Best Team Award”. This year, we’re looking to meet or beat last year’s numbers and hold onto our title. But it won’t be easy – Game and Fish took last year’s loss seriously and it’s determined to win this year.  The cost to participate is only $30 and you even get a pair of boxers to wear at the run. Click here to register on line.  When you register look for Team ADHS (there’s a place to search for teams). The password is leroy12345 (you’ll need to enter that twice). If you register soon, you can use “CHONES” for a $5 discount!  Have fun and see you there! 

Everyone over 50 should get their colonoscopy, I did.  It’s the best way to identify polyps and cancer. Not every polyp turns into cancer, but just about every colon cancer starts as a polyp. And since colon cancer is the 2nd leading cause of cancer death, it’s important to find and remove those polyps early.