Tobacco use is the single most preventable cause of disease, disability, and death in the United States. Cigarette smoking harms nearly all organs of the body; it has been linked to heart disease, multiple cancers, lung diseases, among others. Tobacco usage in Indiana is high compared to other states in the U.S. E-cig usage by Indiana’s youth is increasing dramatically.
At the ICC, our mission is to reduce Indiana’s cancer burden through the coordinated, collective action of its members and the sharing of resources, knowledge, and passion. We work across the entire continuum of care, which consists of four focus areas: primary prevention, early detection, treatment, and survivorship.
Tobacco Prevention and Cessation
Colorectal cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer and cause of cancer-related death among both males and females in the US and Indiana. Age and sex are the two greatest risk factors for developing colorectal cancer. The United States Preventative Services Task Force recommends screening for colorectal cancer starting at age 50 years and continuing until age 75 years.
Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death and, excluding skin cancers, the most frequently diagnosed cancer among females in the US. The lifetime risk of developing breast cancer among females is one in eight. Screening mammography can help reduce the number of deaths from breast cancer among women aged 40 to 74. Beginning at age 40, women should talk to their healthcare provider about when to begin screening.
Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
Cervical cancer screening, which includes the Pap test and human papillomavirus (HPV) test, is an essential part of women’s healthcare because it not only detects cancer, but also any early abnormalities that may lead to future cancers. Cervical cancer is almost 100 percent preventable through regular routine screening, avoidance of controllable risk factors, and vaccination against the human papillomavirus (HPV).
Goal: Prevent Cancer from Occurring
Prevention of cancer through identification and avoidance of modifiable risk factors is crucial to reducing Indiana’s cancer burden. Although some cancer risk factors are non-modifiable, such as family history and age, there are many lifestyle and behavior changes that can be modified to significantly lower cancer risk. Healthy lifestyle behaviors include avoiding tobacco products and secondhand smoke, minimizing alcohol intake, adhering to a balanced diet, exercising regularly, receiving recommended immunizations, and protecting against ultraviolet exposure. Other behaviors linked to cancer prevention include breastfeeding and practicing healthy sexual behavior. Empowering Hoosiers to adopt healthy lifestyles is a critical step toward cancer prevention.
Goal: Increase Guideline-Based Screening for Early Detection
The ICC’s main objective to support early detection is to increase rates of evidence-based cancer screening. Early detection through screening reduces mortality from breast, uterine cervix, colon and rectum, and lung cancers. Several strategies will be directed at increasing public awareness about the benefits and risks of cancer screening, provider knowledge around promoting shared decision-making about the choice to get screened, and interventions to increase screening.
Early detection is a strong predictor of cancer survival; in general, the earlier the cancer is detected, the better the prognosis. Often, regular screenings save lives by identifying cancers when they are most curable and treatment has the highest success rate. Cancers that can be detected through early screening include breast, colon, rectum, cervix, prostate, testis, oral cavity, and skin. Screening isn’t always without risk; it is important for Hoosiers to be informed decision-makers and talk to their primary health care providers about screening options.
Goal: Promote Shared Decision-Making and Ensure Accessible and Evidence-Based Care
The survival and quality of life of a newly-diagnosed cancer patient can depend on the accessibility and availability of timely, quality treatment. The ICC strives to eliminate or limit these barriers to receiving high quality care by improving adherence to evidence-based standards of care. Improving cancer treatment delivery will begin by implementing policy, systems, and environmental changes; supporting provider education and training; and improving patient access to care, education, and programming.
Successful treatment involves a partnership between health care providers, patients, and family members or caregivers. Understanding treatment options is key to helping patients experience greater satisfaction with their care and treatment. When patients understand the nature and risks of their cancer diagnosis, and potential risks and benefits of treatment, they can make informed decisions that are consistent with their personal preferences and values.
Goal: Improve Quality of Life for All Those Affected by Cancer
Due to advances in early detection and treatment, more and more individuals are living after a cancer diagnosis. The ICC believes in the increasing importance of ensuring that everyone diagnosed and treated for cancer achieves the highest quality of life possible. Cancer survivorship aims to prevent and control adverse outcomes and provide knowledge regarding timely follow-up care, surveillance, and optimal quality of life after cancer treatment.
Who We Are
Our coalition launched from a vision of the Indiana State Department of Health, the Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center, the Indiana University School of Medicine Department of Public Health, and the American Cancer Society, Great Lakes Division. Over the past decade, the ICC has grown to include almost 400 members— including organizations and individuals, who work collaboratively to reduce Indiana’s cancer burden. The ICC Steering Committee and work group co-chairs guide ICC activities, infrastructure, partnership development, and evaluation. The ICC is funded, in part, by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as part of the CDC’s National Comprehensive Cancer Control Program. Today, the ICC is housed at the Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Comprehensive Cancer Center – Office of Community Outreach and Engagement.