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How Broome, Tioga Counties will use new $1.1 million cancer prevention grant

BINGHAMTON (WBNG) – The Broome County Health Department and Tioga Public Health announced how they will use their new $1,125,000 Community Cancer Prevention in Action grant Tuesday.

“With this cancer grant, we want to make sure that we do our education and outreach activities with our community partners in order to get people to engage in behaviors that are good for them and are going to reduce their chance for developing cancer,” said Mary McFadden, supervising public educator for the Broome County Health Department.

Health officials from both departments say the five-year initiative will focus on strategies to educate the community and to reduce the burden of cancer through evidence-based strategies.

“Cancer effects us all and we can do more to prevent it when we work together,” said Democratic Broome County Executive, Jason Garnar.

The departments plans on working with schools to decrease students’ exposure to ultraviolet radiation to reduce the risk for skin cancer and teach students about the dangers of ultraviolet rays.

“We want to focus on youth and people with outdoor occupations. Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the U.S. and UV radiation causes 90% of melanomas and this is the deadliest form of cancer,” said McFadden.

Health officials also want to increase cancer screening rates in the county by working with employers on paid time off policies, in particular for colorectal, breast and cervical cancers.

“When we look at, especially colorectal cancer screening rates, we fall below the New York state average. The national average is 80 percent and we are about 60 percent right now for colorectal cancer screening which is one of the most preventable cancer that we have,” said McFadden.

Another primary education focus is to promote the human papillomavirus vaccine, or HPV, to prevent related cancers such as oropharnyx, anus, cervix, vagina, vulva and penis cancer.

“Broome County falls short in their HPV screening rates. We are well under 50%. We should be much higher,” said McFadden.

Broome and Tioga Health departments say they are working with United Health Services, Broome County Department of Planning, Binghamton University as well as the city of Binghamton, Hapursville, Deposit, Johnson City, Owego-Apalachin and Maine-Endwell school districts.

Tyler Brown

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