Poughkeepsie… More than 50 community members joined County Executive William R. Steinhaus for what the Executive called “one of the most important health initiatives in county history!” The Henry A. Wallace Visitors and Education Center hosted a presentation of the recently completed County-wide Cancer Needs Assessment, a critical step in the ongoing work of the Dutchess County Comprehensive Cancer Control Planning program.
Dutchess County is the only county in New York, and one of a handful nationwide, to earmark funds for comprehensive cancer control planning. County Executive Steinhaus has already allocated substantial resources to the Comprehensive Cancer Control program in his 2008 Executive Budget that will be released on November 1st.
County Executive Steinhaus said, “We all have someone in our lives who is affected by cancer. Our Comprehensive Cancer Control program is designed to get everyone in our community working on the same page to move us toward our goal of reducing the risk of cancer, providing better treatment options and enhance survivorship.”
The Dutchess County Comprehensive Cancer Control Planning initiative was launched by Steinhaus last September to locally respond to the nearly universal issues related to cancer. The Cancer Control Consortium is working to share information and resources to better promote cancer prevention, improve cancer detection, increase access to health and social services and reduce the burden of cancer. The combined efforts will aid in helping to reduce cancer risks, detect cancers earlier, improve treatment and enhance quality of life for those touched by this disease.
The County-wide Assessment assembled cancer related information from a variety of sources including healthcare providers, businesses and individuals to create a picture of what currently exists in Dutchess County. More than 100 people have participated in surveys, focus groups and interviews to provide input and feedback about the prevention and screening services, detection and treatment services as well as the support services available to residents dealing with cancer in Dutchess County.
“Our residents and health care providers continue to be a vital resource through their interest and commitment toward continuing to identify and centrally locate all cancer resources that are available to our community,” noted Commissioner of Health Michael C. Caldwell, MD, MPH.
The study found many areas of strength in Dutchess County including the promotion of mammography, prostate screenings and tobacco cessation. Areas where service, support or information is offered, but improvement is still needed include GYN Specialty Care, pediatric oncology, caregiver support and patient navigation.
Deborah Stein, Executive Director of the Dutchess County Chapter American Cancer Society participated in today’s event. “Dutchess County’s Comprehensive Cancer Control program is a community-based, comprehensive approach to fighting cancer. When we all work together, we can accomplish so much more than working independently. We are proud of Dutchess County Government’s involvement in comprehensive cancer care,” said Ms. Stein.
At the conclusion of the presentation, Dr. Caldwell outlined some of the next steps for the Cancer Control Initiative. The data provided in the Countywide Cancer Assessment will be used create an action plan which focuses on providing information and education, promotes access to care and improves patient satisfaction.
“There is much work still to done and we need help from our community. We encourage residents to participant in the Cancer Control Consortium. Everyone has a part to play in our battle against cancer, no one can do it alone,” concluded Steinhaus.
For more information about Dutchess County’s Comprehensive Cancer Control Program and to find out more about the battle against cancer in Dutchess County, log onto http://www.co.dutchess.ny.us/CountyGov/Departments/Health/Videos/CancerControlHS.wmv to view a short, informative video about comprehensive cancer planning, filmed by the Children’s Media Project and created by Fahad A. Ahmed.