State leaders unveil most comprehensive plan in Kansas history to fight cancer

13 News at Six
Published: Mar. 13, 2023 at 12:32 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - As cancer chases heart disease for the leading cause of death of Kansans, state leaders have announced the most comprehensive plan in the state’s history to fight it.

On Monday, March 13, Kansas Governor Laura Kelly announced the release of the largest and most comprehensive cancer prevention and control plan in state history. She said the plan outlines how Kansas will allocate resources over the next five years to prevent and reduce the risk of cancer as well as its burden on families.

Gov. Kelly noted that the plan includes proposals to bolster the healthcare workforce, increase early detection, expand understanding of available resources and reduce unhealthy behaviors.

Kelly indicated that cancer is the second leading cause of death in the Sunflower State - surpassed only by heart disease. On average, more than 5,500 Kansans die from cancer each year.

“Nearly all of us will be impacted by cancer at some point in our lives, whether that’s receiving a diagnosis ourselves or supporting family and friends through treatment,” Kelly said. “The Kansas Cancer Plan is a call to action that reflects a year and a half of hard work, research, and sustained engagement to improve the lives of Kansans. I thank everyone who contributed to this important blueprint for how we can advance uniquely Kansan solutions to combat this terrible disease.”

The Governor said the plan follows an 18-month collaboration between the Kansas Department of Health and Environment and the Kansas Cancer Partnership.

“This plan represents the largest formal effort to address the burden of cancer in the State of Kansas,” said Olivia Burzoni, program manager for the KDHE 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.”

Kelly noted that the plan outlines strategies in five major areas which include prevention, early detection, cancer survivorship, financial burden, health equity and advocacy and policy. In addition, the plan also calls for increased collaboration to address social aspects of health and health equity.

Kelly said the population-based data collected found:

  • The age-adjusted cancer incidence rates were 15% - 35% higher for men than women between 2008 and 2017.
  • Cancer mortality rates increase dramatically with age, with the highest rate among those aged 85 and older.
  • The mortality rate for Black Kansasns is significantly higher than that of white Kansans.
  • The mortality rate for Hispanic Kansas is substantially higher than that of non-Hispanic Kansans.

“Achieving the goals and objectives in this plan will ensure that all Kansans have excellent support systems within their communities, access to quality cancer care, and the resources needed to help deal with the many challenges of cancer,” Dr. Jennifer Bacani, KCP Chairperson and Family Physician, Fredonia Family Care, said.

To view the full report, click HERE.