Wednesday, February 24, 2016

New Plan Unveiled in the Fight Against Cancer

(Salt Lake City, UT) – Cancer is the second leading cause of death in Utah and the U.S., exceeded only by heart disease. In 2014, more than 3,000 Utahns died from cancer. Today, the Utah Department of Health (UDOH) and the Utah Cancer Action Network (UCAN) unveiled a new plan in the fight against cancer.

“This plan represents the largest formal effort to address the burden of cancer in the state of Utah,” said Lynette Phillips, Program Manager for the UDOH Cancer Control Program. “We invite everyone to discover their role and responsibility in the fight against cancer. As all may be affected by cancer in some way, it will take all of us to meet this challenge.”

The Utah Comprehensive Cancer Prevention and Control Plan outlines four priority areas that represent the highest burden areas for cancer control and UCAN’s desire to achieve meaningful and lasting impact over the next five years. These priority areas include cancer screening, physical activity and nutrition, skin cancer, and survivorship and quality of life. In addition, the plan calls for increased collaboration to address the role genetics plays in cancer prevention, treatment, and research as well as how the human papillomavirus (HPV), radon, and tobacco impact cancer burden in the state. 

Data in the plan revealed:
  • Lung, breast, colorectal, pancreas, and prostate cancer are the top five cancer killers in the state.
  • While Utah has the lowest rate of lung cancer in the U.S., we have the highest incidence rate of melanoma in the country, 65% higher than the U.S. rate.
  • The top five leading cancers by number of new cases in Utah are prostate, breast, skin melanoma, colorectal, and lung.
  • Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related death for men in Utah while breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related death for women.
Since its inception in 2001, the UCAN has worked with state and local government, private and nonprofit organizations, physicians, cancer survivors and patients, caregivers, advocates, and researchers to reduce deaths and suffering from cancer.

“By working together, we can increase awareness of how to prevent cancer, detect it early, and improve the quality of life for cancer survivors in our state,” said John Sweetenham, MD, UCAN Chairperson and Executive Medical Director of Huntsman Cancer Institute.

Visit to download a copy of the 2016-2020 Utah Comprehensive Cancer Prevention and Control Plan or to learn how you can get involved with the Utah Cancer Action Network.

# # #

Media Contact:
Lindsay Snow
Cancer Control Program
(o) 801-538-6313