Last month the NCI released their Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer that reported "for all cancer sites combined, cancer death rates continued to decline in men, women, and children in the United States from 1999 to 2016." While these statistics are encouraging and confirm we have made strides in cancer research over the past 17 years, it is important to understand the importance of our own catchment-related work ahead of us right here in Ohio.
The Ohio Department of Health just released the first Ohio-specific report on Cancer Survival in Ohio that provides a comprehensive examination of five-year relative cancer survival using data from the Ohio Cancer Incidence Surveillance System. A few key findings:
- Ohio's five-year relative survival for all cancer sites/types combined was statistically significantly lower than that of the United States
- Females had higher five-year survival than males; blacks typically had lower five-year survival than whites
- In Ohio, cancer survival was generally lower in the poorest counties than the most affluent counties, lower in rural counties than urban counties and lower in Appalachian counties than non-Appalachian counties
- Cancer patients in Ohio with private insurance at diagnosis had better survival outcomes than those who were uninsured or had other types of health insurance
Both studies provide an overview, with less comprehensive disease-specific or sufficient demographic data, but these are starting points.
These findings emphasize the importance of addressing issues locally. The Case CCC has an open RFA to support collaborative, multi-investigator pilot projects in catchment-related cancer and risks prevalent in underserved populations. In addition, our Center is making targeted efforts expand our research efforts to include rural counties surrounding our 15-county catchment area.
I encourage you to consider how you can impact research and cancer prevention efforts in our own Ohio communities. Please consider a response to this RFA!