September 21st: Someone You Love Film Screening with Expert Panel

The ICC District 6 Regional Cancer Control Coalition and Indiana University East are hosting a free screening of the award-winning documentary, Someone You Love. This eighty-minute film takes a look into the lives of five women affected by the Human Papillomavirus (HPV), the widely misunderstood and controversial virus that causes several types of cancer.

HPV may be the most widespread, misunderstood and potentially dangerous epidemic that most people do not understand. Eighty percent of all people under 50 years of age will have a strain of the virus at some point in their lives and most will not even realize they have it. Cervical cancer is almost exclusively caused by HPV and it is the 2nd leading cancer in women. Worldwide, cervical cancer kills over 250,000 women every year. Meet five unforgettable women whose lives have been changed forever and even interrupted by this deadly virus. Although this film features women, HPV does not discriminate and impacts males as well as females.

This screening is open to all, ideal for parents with children between 11-18 years of age, and is free of cost. Register here.

We are also proud to host a live panel session after the film to share their stories and answer your questions. Panelists include:

  • Kirk and Brenda Forbes: These parents are featured in the film and share their story about coping with the loss of their daughter, Kristen, and trying to prevent this from happening to others like her.
  • Gregory Zimet, PhD, Co-Director, HPV Center for Survey Research. Professor of Pediatrics and Clinical Psychology with the IU School of Medicine
  • Jeevan Sekhar, MD: Medical Oncologist in Richmond, Indiana.
  • Laurie Weinzapfel, Director of Program and Quality Improvement with MDWise

We welcome you to join us and share this opportunity within your networks. This film could save your life or someone you love.

Talking Sun Safety with Miss Indiana USA & Dr. Jerome Adams [Video]

Miss Indiana USA and State Health Commissioner Jerome Adams, MD, have teamed up to tackle Sun Safety Awareness Month this year! Check out this dynamic duo discussing the pageant winner’s experiences as a skin cancer survivor and how to protect the skin you’re in.

Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In the U.S., more skin cancer cases are diagnosed each year than all other cancers combined. The number of skin cancer cases has been going up over the past few decades, the American Cancer Society reports.

In Indiana, from 2011–2015, there were 1,248 new cases of melanoma diagnosed, and 209 melanoma-related deaths on average per year. The number of basal cell and squamous cell skin cancers is difficult to estimate because these cases are not required to be reported to the Indiana State Cancer Registry, according to the Indiana Cancer Facts and Figures 2015 report.

Skin cancer can be prevented by practicing sun safety, and eliminating any exposure to tanning beds and sun lamps. To learn more about skin cancer, please refer to the Indiana Cancer Facts and Figures 2015 report, a comprehensive report on the burden of cancer in Indiana.

The Connection Between Obesity and Cancer in Indiana

With cancer being the second leading cause of death in Indiana, it is no surprise that many cancer control efforts focus on the prevention of cancer. Estimates suggest that about one third of cancers could be prevented by making maintaining a healthy weight and staying physically active.

The Cancer Control Section at the Indiana State Department of Health and the ICC are committed to the primary prevention of cancer, and are pleased to introduce “The Burden of Obesity Related Cancers and the Promotion of Physical Activity in Indiana.” This report details cancers associated with overweight and obesity and discusses ways physical activity can be promoted as a public health intervention.

The report also highlights current overweight and obesity and physical activity trends among adults and children in Indiana, and bodies of literature recommending evidence-based and promising strategies to increase physical activity. Lastly, the report discusses what we in Indiana, specifically the ICC and Cancer Control Section, in conjunction with statewide partners, are doing to promote physical activity and decrease the burden of cancer, especially as it aligns with our coalition’s policy agenda:

  • Increase the number of complete streets policies
  • Require schools provide 30 minutes a day, or 150 minutes a week, of physical activity in elementary schools.

The ICC asks you to use the report to educate communities, organizations, school districts, employers, and decision makers about the burden of obesity related cancers, the current state of physical activity, and overweight and obesity trends in Indiana. We need to continue educating key stakeholders about evidence-based physical activity strategies aimed at improving levels of physical activity and inform them of how policy, systems, and environmental change strategies in schools and communities do encourage physical activity. In Indiana, the healthy choice needs to be the easy choice.

Communicating with Your Doctor is Key to Staying Healthy

Today marks the last day of Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, but as we turn our focus toward other cancer awareness months, it is highly important that we continue to educate and advocate for men’s health issues such as prostate cancer. Excluding all skin cancers, prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer and second leading cause of cancer deaths among men in Indiana and the United States. During 2010, there were 3,345 new cases of prostate cancer and 587 deaths as a result of prostate cancer in Indiana.

Risks and Symptoms

According to the Indiana Cancer Facts & Figures 2012, prostate cancer risk increases with age, rising quickly after the age of 50. Two out of three diagnoses occur in men over the age of 65.  Moreover, African-American men are more likely to develop prostate cancer than any other racial or ethnic group, and they are more likely to die from prostate cancer than white males. In addition, men with one first-degree relative (father or brother) with a history of prostate cancer are two to three times more likely to develop the disease.

Prostate cancer is an uncontrolled growth and spread of cells in the prostate, an exocrine gland in the male reproductive system. Some common signs and symptoms of prostate cancer include:

  • Difficulty starting urination.
  • Weak or interrupted flow of urine.
  • Frequent urination, especially at night.
  • Difficulty emptying the bladder completely.
  • Pain or burning during urination.
  • Blood in the urine or semen.
  • Painful ejaculation.
  • Pain in the back, hips or pelvis that doesn’t go away.

Sometimes there are no symptoms, and these symptoms can also occur as a result of non-cancerous conditions, such as prostate enlargement or infection. No symptoms are specific to prostate cancer.

Screenings and Prevention

Prostate cancer screenings are widely debated in the medical community; therefore, it is important for men to become informed decision makers. Screenings may lead to early detection and increased treatment effectiveness; however, some risks include false-positive test results and other serious side effects, such as impotence and incontinence. Given the potential risks linked to prostate cancer screening, it is vitally important that men talk with their doctor. Each man must weigh the benefits and the risks associated with screening, and make a decision based on what is right for him.

Like most cancers, individual actions and lifestyle choices can help prevent prostate cancer. In particular, men should:

  • Eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables each day.
  • Limit intake of red meats (especially processed meats such as hot dogs, bologna and lunch meat).
  • Avoid excessive consumption of dairy products and calcium.
  • Include recommended levels of lycopene (antioxidants that help prevent damage to DNA which are found in tomatoes, pink grapefruit and watermelon) and vitamin E in their diet.
  • Meet recommended levels of physical activity.

To learn more about prostate cancer, please refer to the Indiana Cancer Facts and Figures 2012 report, a comprehensive report on the burden of cancer in Indiana.

USPSTF with New Recommendation for Lung Cancer Screening

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States and Indiana, killing over 150,000 Americans and approximately 4,000 Indiana residents every year. If all tobacco smoking stopped, the occurrence of lung cancer would decrease by an estimated 90%, however, 25.6 percent of adults in Indiana continue to smoke putting them at greater risk for developing lung and other types of cancer.

In the past, early detection of lung cancer has not been shown effective in reducing mortality from lung cancer. However, just last month, the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) released a DRAFT recommendation statement that supports annual screening for lung cancer with low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) in persons at high risk for lung cancer based on age and smoking history. The USPSTF is an independent panel of non-Federal experts in prevention and evidence-based medicine and develops recommendations for primary care clinicians and health systems. The lung cancer screening recommendation falls in line with a similar guideline from the American Cancer Society; however, the American Cancer Society more directly emphasizes informed-decision, specifically in regards to the benefits and harms when screening for lung cancer.

The USPSTF found adequate evidence that annual screening for lung cancer with LDCT in current and former smokers ages 55 to 79 who have significant tobacco smoke exposure can prevent a substantial number of lung cancer deaths. The draft also addresses the harms of lung cancer screening such as over-diagnosis and rate of false-positives.

While the recommendation makes progress for early detection of lung cancer, the best way to reduce your risk of developing lung cancer is to quit smoking. Smokers who quit smoking, regardless of age, live longer than people who continue to smoke. Visit for free, evidence-based smoking cessation assistance.

The USPSTF seeks comments to help make its draft documents more useful to primary care providers and other who are interested. The draft Recommendation Statement is available for comment until August, 26, 2013. To submit your public comment, please visit

Exposing Skin Cancer [INFOGRAPH]

Kids may be headed back to school, but we’ve still got months of fun outdoor activities ahead. The ICC Data Committee reminds us of proper sun safety in our latest infograph Exposing Skin Cancer. This data visualization unveils all the good and bad that can happen with sun safety and skin cancer in only ten minutes. The infograph also shares key information on skin cancer risk factors, self-screening, and tanning bed restrictions nationwide. Data for the Exposing Skin Cancer infograph was compiled from a number of resources including the Indiana Cancer Registry, the Indiana Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Facts and Figures 2013, and the CDC.

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Exposing Skin Cancer in Indiana

Protect Yourself and Loved Ones from Skin Cancer

May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month and Monday, May 6, has been designated as Melanoma Monday to help raise awareness of melanoma and other skin cancers. Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the U.S. and affects more people than lung, breast, colon, and prostate cancers combined.

“Current estimates indicate that one in five Americans will be diagnosed with skin cancer during their lifetime,” said State Health Commissioner William VanNess, M.D. “However, you can reduce your risk of skin cancer by taking a few steps to protect yourself from the sun. Seeking shade, especially during midday hours, wearing sunglasses and using sunscreen that has a sun protection factor of 15 or higher and protects against both UVA and UVB rays can help protect you and your loved ones.”

The two most common types, called basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas, are highly curable. Melanoma, the third most common skin cancer, is more serious. According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), melanoma, which accounts for five percent of skin cancer cases, causes the most skin cancer related deaths, killing one American every hour.

“Unlike many other common cancers, melanoma occurs in both younger and older people,” said Tom Rich, Director of Comprehensive Cancer Control for the Great Lakes Division of ACS. “Rates continue to increase with age and are highest among those in their 80s, but melanoma is not uncommon even among those younger than 30. In fact, it is one of the more common cancers in young adults, especially young women.”

Changes in the shape, size, and color of moles may indicate skin cancer. To help with early detection for melanoma and other skin cancers, State health officials suggest the following ABCDE guidelines when looking at a mole to determine if you should be concerned.

A = Asymmetry: One half of the mole (or lesion) does not match the other half.
B = Border: Border irregularity; the edges are ragged, notched or blurred.
C = Color: The pigmentation is not uniform, with variable degrees of tan, brown, or black.
D = Diameter: The diameter of a mole or skin lesion is greater than six millimeters (or the size of a pencil eraser). Any sudden increase in the size of an existing mole should be checked.
E = Evolution: Existing moles changing shape, size, or color.

“Skin cancer may appear differently than what is described in the ABCDE rule,” said Dr. VanNess. “If you notice any changes to existing moles or new growths on the skin, make an appointment with your health care provider for an exam.”

For more information about skin cancer in Indiana, visit the Indiana Cancer Facts and Figures 2012, a comprehensive report on the burden of cancer in Indiana at

Funding Opportunity: Prostate Cancer Educational Workshops

Excluding all types of skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among Indiana men and is the second leading cause of cancer death for men. During 2004-2008, according to the Indiana Cancer Facts and Figures 2012, there were approximately 3,954 cases of prostate cancer and 602 deaths per year in Indiana. African-American men are more likely to develop prostate cancer than any other racial or ethnic group and they are more than twice as likely to die from the disease as white men.

Due to the uncertainties in prostate cancer screening techniques and outcomes, most organizations including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend informed decision making. Informed decision making is defined by the CDC as when a man:

  • Understands the nature and risks of prostate cancer.
  • Understands the risks, benefits, and alternatives to prostate cancer screening.
  • Participates in decision making at a level he desires.
  • Makes a decision consistent with his preferences and values, or defers the decision to a later time.

An ICC partner, the Cancer Early Detection Section at the Indiana State Department of Health, has announced a funding opportunity for the planning and implementation of prostate cancer educational workshops that provide Indiana men, aged 40-65, with an overview of prostate cancer, risks and benefits of prostate cancer screening, and the importance of informed decision making. Please note, discussing informed decision making is a requirement in order to receive grant awards. Grant awards of up to $2,499 will be reimbursed to selected organizations for conducting these workshops.

Please visit the RFP to learn more and apply.

Funding Opportunity: Workplace Wellness Initiative

The Indiana State Department of Health Cancer Control section just released a funding opportunity to help develop a pilot program for cancer screening initiatives in the workplace. Cancer screening is critical — early detection not only increases the effectiveness of treatment, but also long-term survival rates. And, often the workplace is seen as the new frontier in health initiatives. But why? What can the workplace gain by promoting cancer screenings?

In March 2008, 63 percent of the non-institutionalized adult population, approximately 145,969,000 adults, in the U.S. was employed – this means that a bulk of the average-risk population for breast, cervical, or colorectal cancer screening could be found at work. For every employee without cancer, employers spend an average of $3,000 per year in direct medical costs. For employees with cancer, that number jumps to $16,000 per year in direct medical costs.

About 2.4 million Hoosiers, or two out of every five, will eventually develop cancer. This means that for a company that employs 100 people, 40 will develop cancer. That means for the 40 people who develop cancer the employer will spend $640,000 in direct medical costs, as opposed to the $180,000 in medical costs for the 60 healthy employees. Just in terms of dollars and cents, it makes sense to develop programs that encourage employees to participate in screenings that detect cancer early – sometimes before it is even considered cancer.

Wellness programs and initiatives in the workplace benefit the employers with a decrease in lost productivity and healthier bottom lines – but more importantly, workplace wellness and cancer screening programs save lives.

View the application for this funding opportunity.

Complete Streets [INFOGRAPH]

The city of Indianapolis adopted Indiana’s sixth Complete Streets policy on August 23. In honor of the success, the ICC has released our latest infograph that models a Complete Street, details the health and economic benefit of active transportation, and illustrates how much of Indiana is now covered by a Complete Streets policy.

Complete Streets legislation ensures that transportation planners and engineers consistently design and operate the entire roadway with all users in mind including pedestrians, motorists, cyclists, mass transit riders, and those with disabilities. When “streets are complete,” alternative modes of transportation (walking, biking, etc.) are more attractive; physical activity is promoted; safety is improved for all users, and in the case of safe routes to school, safety is improved for children; and the unintended negative health outcomes of a less active lifestyle are minimized.

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Indiana Complete Streets