Cancer Remains Number 2 Cause of Death for New Yorkers

State Health Commissioner Urges New Yorkers to 'Stand Up To Cancer' With Prevention, Screening

The following information is provided for use in connection with the Sept. 5 'Stand Up to Cancer' Television Special

ALBANY, N.Y. (September 4, 2008) - Despite advances in prevention and treatment, cancer continues to be the second leading cause of death in New York State, exceeded only by heart disease.

"Prevention and early detection are still the keys to reducing cancer incidence and cancer deaths," said State Health Commissioner Richard F. Daines, M.D. "All New Yorkers should reduce their risks for cancer, get screened to detect cancer early, and learn where to go for treatment and support if they receive a cancer diagnosis."

Commissioner Daines issued a call to action on cancer to all New Yorkers on the eve of an unprecedented one-hour primetime commercial-free television special – "Stand Up to Cancer" that will air on Friday, September 5, from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. on the three major television networks: ABC, CBS, and NBC.

"By stopping smoking, eating a healthy diet, getting regular physical activity, maintaining a healthy weight, and getting recommended cancer screenings, we can prevent most cancer deaths," said Dr. Daines.

Dr. Daines emphasized that help is available for New Yorkers facing a diagnosis of cancer. "In addition to finding the best treatment, New Yorkers need to know how to access programs that offer counseling, education, outreach, support and other assistance to people with cancer."

"Today we know how to prevent many types of cancer with healthful behaviors," said Ursula E. Bauer, Ph.D., M.P.H., Director of the State Health Department's Division of Chronic Disease Prevention and Adult Health. "For other cancers, early detection through routine screening is the key to effective treatment, and perhaps a cure."

Among New York women, breast, lung and colorectal cancers are the three most common cancers after skin cancer. Among New York men, prostate, lung and colorectal cancers are the most common cancers after skin cancer.

According to the New York State Cancer Registry, between 2001 and 2005 nearly 52,000 men and women were newly diagnosed with these cancers alone each year, and approximately 18,500 deaths were reported annually.

Maintaining a healthful lifestyle, knowing and reducing personal risk for cancers, getting cancer screening tests at the right age and time, and learning where in your community to find treatment and support services are the best protection against cancer, said Dr. Bauer.

"Making healthy choices the natural choices in our lives is good for our health, our quality of life, and for preventing cancer and other chronic diseases," said Dr. Bauer.

The State Health Department's Cancer Services Program offers the following services throughout the state:

  • Free breast, cervical and colorectal cancer screening and diagnosis for eligible men and women who are uninsured or underinsured;
  • Free HPV vaccine for eligible women, ages 18 to 26, who are uninsured or underinsured;
  • Free breast, cervical, colorectal and prostate cancer treatment for eligible men and women;
  • Free legal advice and representation on issues including access to entitlements, estate planning, disability benefits, child custody, and designation of health care proxies;
  • Free counseling, education, outreach and support services for people with breast cancer;
  • Free supportive services for individuals who are currently diagnosed with cancer, who have had cancer in the past, or who are at risk for developing cancer;
  • Community-based ovarian cancer education, awareness, and support programs; and
  • Assistance finding a genetic counselor to learn if genetic testing is right for you.

To learn about these services in your community, call toll free 1-866-442-2262 or 1-866-442-CANCER.