New York State Department of Health Recognizes National Cancer Research Month

Health Department Highlights Importance of Cancer Research

ALBANY, N.Y. (May 28, 2024) – The New York State Department of Health recognizes National Cancer Research Month by raising awareness of the significant impact that research has had on treating and curing people of cancer.

"Cancer is a disease that takes a traumatic emotional toll on those diagnosed and their loved ones," State Health Commissioner Dr. James McDonald said.  "Due to remarkable advances in cancer research, more than 1 million cancer survivors in New York State are thriving and living full and healthy lives despite their diagnosis and past challenges. Although we've seen exceptional progress and advancements over the years, too many people still die from cancer."

The burden of cancer in New York is significant. Each year, approximately 115,000 New Yorkers learn they have cancer, and nearly 34,000 die from the disease. While cancer impacts all New Yorkers and their families across the state, rates of cancer diagnoses and poor cancer outcomes are strongly linked to existing disparities in cancer related to race and ethnicity. Some of these known disparities include:

  • Non-Hispanic Black men have by far the highest rates of prostate cancer incidence and mortality of any racial/ethnic group.
  • Cervical cancer incidence is higher among non-Hispanic Black and Hispanic women. Cervical cancer mortality is highest among non-Hispanic Black women.
  • Non-Hispanic Black individuals experience higher incidence rates of regional and distant stage disease for female breast cancer, cervical cancer, and colorectal cancer.
  • While non-Hispanic white women have the highest incidence rates of breast cancer, non-Hispanic Black women have the highest mortality rates, according to data on cancer incidence and mortality in New York.

The Department has established extensive programs and initiatives to help New Yorkers learn more about cancer and provides support to individuals and families who are impacted by the disease.

The New York State Cancer Registry participates in Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Program of Cancer Registries and the National Cancer Institute's Surveillance, End Results and Epidemiology program to collect standardized information on all cancer cases in New York. This information allows researchers, doctors, policy makers, public health professionals and members of the public to monitor the burden of cancer, evaluate cancer prevention and control programs, and identify focus areas for research and policy development.

The New York State Cancer Registry also actively collaborates on research studies with a goal of improving cancer outcomes and reducing health disparities. New York is one of several sites for the RESPOND Study of research on prostate cancer in men of African ancestry, which seeks to identify why men of African ancestry have higher risk of prostate cancer and more aggressive cancers. Follow-up of the RESPOND cohort will begin soon and seeks to identify factors associated with prostate cancer progression and survival in men of African Ancestry. New York is also one of several enrollment sites for studies examining racial disparities in diagnosis and outcomes for breast, uterine, and ovarian cancer.

Other ongoing or upcoming research studies focus on identifying causes and improving outcomes for testicular cancer, lung cancer, and medullary thyroid cancer. These research studies are collaborations with researchers throughout the United States and seek to improve care and outcomes for all New Yorkers diagnosed with cancer.

In addition, the New York State Cancer Registry participates in the Virtual Pooled Registry- Cancer Linkage System (VPR-CLS) that allows researchers to conduct minimal risk linkage studies with multiple central cancer registries.

The New York State Cancer Consortium is a statewide network made up of more than 200 members from the 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 the development and evaluation of the New York State Comprehensive Cancer Control Plan.

The Department continues to encourage New Yorkers to educate themselves about cancer, to get screened, and to urge their loved ones to do the same.

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

Information about programs established by the Department to help educate and provide support related to cancer can be found here.

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.

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