Tag Archives: cancer prevention

World Cancer Day 2017—Bringing the Message Home

by ACCC Communications

WCD_LOGO_4C“We can. I can.” This is the campaign slogan of World Cancer Day, an international campaign focused on increasing cancer awareness on the national, organizational, and individual level.

This February 4, 2017, the Association of Community Cancer Centers (ACCC) stands shoulder to shoulder with cancer care providers, patients, and families across the globe in recognition of World Cancer Day. Despite advances in diagnosis and treatment, each year more than 8 million people die of cancer worldwide. By the year 2025, this number is projected to increase to more than 11 million.

With the approach of World Cancer Day, ACCC salutes its members in cancer programs and practices across the country who are embodying the “We can. I can.” call to action every day, not only in caring for patients with cancer, but engaging their communities through outreach, education, and screening events throughout the whole year. Here are just a few recent examples of ACCC member initiatives:

ACCC acknowledges all of its members for their “we can” spirit that connects cancer programs and practices across the country in peer-to-peer learning—sharing knowledge, experiences, and solutions—to the benefit of the patients and the communities they serve.

HPV Vaccination: Engaging Community Partners for Success

By Amy Montgomery

ACCCBuzz guest blogger Amy Montgomery is Senior Administrator of Operations at The Outer Banks Hospital in Nags Head, North Carolina.

Innovator Seal16singularThe recent American Cancer Society (ACS) endorsement of the U.S. government’s HPV vaccination recommendation signals the start of a new and refreshing conversation.  The updated (ACS) guideline supports the Centers for Disease Control and Preventions (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommendation to vaccinate both males and females at ages 11 to 12 to protect against HPV.

We have known for years that the vaccine was designed to prevent the human papilloma virus (HPV), which is associated with the vast majority of cervical, vaginal, vulvar, anal, penile, and oropharyngeal cancers.  What we have done, to some degree, is avoid the topic all together.  Until recently, the HPV vaccine was a conversation about whether or not giving the vaccine to a child would lead to early sexual behavior.  Simply put, early sexual behavior is a scary topic for most parents of preteen children.  So, the conversation stopped there.  In the doctor’s office, at the bus stop, at book club – all the places where the topic might come up – it most likely turned toward early sexual behavior, with the cancer prevention benefits of the vaccine left unexplored.

Not any longer.  With the guidance of the CDC and the leadership of the American Cancer Society, the common ground upon which most of us can agree is that HPV vaccination is a powerful tool in our cancer prevention kit.  This is a message that resonates with parents.  The conversation starts like this, “If you could prevent your child from developing a certain type of cancer as an adult later in life, would you do it?”  As a parent, you had me at “prevent my child from getting cancer.”  The door is now open to how, when, and where can I have my child vaccinated.

The Outer Banks Hospital Cancer Committee began using this new conversation when we undertook an initiative to increase the HPV vaccination rate among students enrolled in our local public schools.  This approach helped us gain the support of key community partners including our hospital president, the school system superintendent, and local health department director.  This approach also resonated with parents, demonstrated by the increase in our vaccination rates from 6 percent to 16 percent among 8th grade students in just one year.

Some strategies we used to start this new conversation included:

1)      a cover story in our hospital’s community newsletter

2)      a letter to local physicians from our Cancer Committee physician liaison

3)      flyers sent home in report cards

4)      presentations at back-to-school parent meetings

We also found modest success with older students.  Our efforts increased the vaccination rate from 20 percent to 23 percent among rising high school seniors.  What we learned is that different strategies are needed to encourage catch-up vaccines for this age group.  That is something our team will be exploring as we continue this cancer prevention work.

The Outer Banks Hospital is honored to be a recognized with a 2016 ACCC Innovator Award for our initiative on HPV Vaccination: Engaging Community Partners for Success. At the upcoming  ACCC 33rd National Oncology Conference October 19-21, in St. Louis, Missouri,  we will be describing  how we worked with our community partners to encourage conversation about HPV vaccination and cancer prevention.  Watch our short Innovator Award video to learn more about our initiative.

Join us and all of the 2016 ACCC Innovator Award winners in St. Louis, and hear inspirational, real-world approaches to complex challenges in delivering quality care to serve our communities. View the conference agenda and register today!