New York State Department of Health Teams Up with Global Initiative to Recognize World Cancer Day

Department's Office of Health Equity and Human Rights Deputy Commissioner Johanne Morne Featured on Union for International Cancer Control's Let's Talk Cancer Podcast

This Year's World Cancer Day Theme is "Close the Care Gap"

Albany, N.Y. (February 3, 2023) – The New York State Department of Health has teamed up with the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) to celebrate World Cancer Day and this year's theme, "Close the Care Gap." World Cancer Day is celebrated on February 4, led by UICC to raise global awareness of the burden of cancer and to encourage worldwide education, prevention, and treatment.

"Hearing the words for yourself or a loved one, 'you have cancer,' is life changing and deeply personal," Acting State Health Commissioner Dr. James McDonald said. "Cancer remains a tremendous physical, emotional, and economic burden, not just on New Yorkers but on individuals across the globe. Addressing the impact of cancer and bridging the gap to accessible quality care takes a network of dedicated public officials, health care providers, community agencies, and advocacy groups.Everyone deserves access to prevention, early detection, and compassionate care. I applaud the work that's already been done here in New York, and the Department will continue its mission to build the foundation of equitable access across the state."

In recognition of World Cancer Day, Deputy Commissioner Johanne Morne of the Department's newly formed Office of Health Equity and Human Rights (OHEHR) was featured on the Let's Talk Cancer podcast with Cary Adams, the CEO of UICC, where they discuss how to address the barriers to accessing cancer care services and improve social determinants of health.

"We have to take the experience of the tragedies we see; we have to translate that into creating spaces where intentional conversations can take place for the purpose of planning and the purpose of developing systems of care that will treat people with respect, with equality and with a desire to improve human life and the health of the people that we serve. I often say when I talk about people we serve, I say the people that we serve and the people that we love, because sometimes it's helpful to understand that we're not talking about other people. We're talking about the people who are oftentimes ourselves and truly the family and the friends that we love."Deputy Commissioner Johanne Morne, Office of Health Equity and Human Rights onUICC's Let's Talk Cancer podcast.

Cancer is one of the most common chronic diseases in New York State and is second only to heart disease as the leading cause of death. Each year, about 120,000 New Yorkers are diagnosed with cancer. Almost 20,000 individuals die from a tobacco-related cancer each year, accounting for 57% of all cancer deaths in New York State, according to a recent report.

February is also Cancer Prevention Month, providing an opportunity for every New Yorker to take steps to reduce the risk of cancer. Research shows more than one third of cancers are preventable if the right measures are taken, including:

  • Knowing one's genetics and family history.
  • Getting help to quit smoking.
  • Limiting alcohol consumption.
  • Making healthy eating choices.
  • Limiting sun exposure.
  • Testing homes for radon.
  • Getting vaccinated for human papillomavirus (HPV) and hepatitis B.
  • Getting screened for cancer and hepatitis C.
  • Talking to a health care provider about the risks for cancer.

"As a breast cancer survivor, I know firsthand that a cancer diagnosis is life changing," Deputy Commissioner Morne said. "We must continue to expand access to prevention and early detection. Everyone deserves this right. Addressing the persistent barriers to accessing services can save lives."

To better address health equity and improve cancer screening rates among populations less likely to be screened, in October, the Department launched a funding opportunity to award state grants totaling $41 million to 21 organizations to continue to run the long-standing, successful New York State Cancer Services Program. The grantees will cover every county and borough in New York and will focus their efforts on individuals who lack access to services.

This builds upon the Department's nation-leading approach to relieve the cancer burden in New York. The New York State Cancer Consortium is a statewide network made up of more than 200 members from public and private sectors whose missions are aligned with reducing cancer incidence and mortality. Consortium Action Teams come together to address some of New York's highest burden of preventable cancers, including colorectal cancer, cancers caused by the human papilloma virus, lung cancer, skin cancer, and health and wellness issues for New York's many cancer survivors. The Department is an active member, participating in the Consortium's Steering Committee, providing support to the committee and other Consortium work groups, and facilitating development and evaluation of the New York State Comprehensive Cancer Control Plan.

Community Cancer Prevention in Action (CPiA) is a New York State Department of Health program that works to support cancer prevention and risk reduction interventions using a policy, systems, and environmental (PSE) change approach. Grantees build awareness of and support for cancer prevention policy change in local communities. Grantees include local health departments, hospitals, and universities. These grantees' work to promote adoption of employer paid time off benefits for cancer screening has served as a national model and is promoted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Enrolling in health care coverage can improve access to medical care and reduce the risk for illness, including cancer. To enroll in health coverage or to find out about financial assistance to lower the cost of health coverage, contact NY State of Health at 1-855-355-5777 (TTY: 1-800-662-1220) or visit Resources | NY State of Health.

The New York State Cancer Services Program provides free breast, cervical, and colorectal cancer screening to New Yorkers without insurance. If cancer is found, eligible New Yorkers can enroll in the New York State Medicaid Cancer Treatment Program to receive Medicaid coverage for cancer treatment.

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, many people have experienced delays in cancer screening because of temporary office closures, fear of getting COVID-19, and backlogged appointments. Delays in cancer screenings may lead to an increase in diagnosis at a later stage and deaths. New Yorkers who are overdue for a cancer screening are encouraged to reach out to a health care provider and schedule a screening.

To find a nearby screening location, visit New York's Cancer Services Program.

The New York State Cancer Registry and cancer statistics can be found here.

Information on HPV-related cancer incidence and vaccination rates can be found here.

Trends in obesity-related cancers in New York State can be found here.

More information on cancer, including cancer types, prevention, treatment, and resources can be found here.