The battle against cancer is fought on many fronts. In homes, where family and friends connect in support of someone with a new diagnosis; in diagnostic and treatment centers, where providers band together to diagnose and treat the disease; in hospitals, where multi-disciplinary teams provide resources to partner with patients; in advocacy centers, where everyone’s energy is dedicated to support those affected; and in the government and insurance industry, where challenges and questions are asked regarding how we can finance the burden cancer presents. All involved hope for the same result: an end to suffering and death caused by cancer.
In the state of Pennsylvania, this battle has become a coordinated effort. Beginning in 2001, an unprecedented partnership was initiated by the Pennsylvania Department of Health and the Pennsylvania Division of the American Cancer Society to bring together more than 190 stakeholders representing the health care community, cancer research centers, academia, community organizations, advocacy groups, industry and cancer survivors. This initial gathering led to the creation of the Pennsylvania Cancer Control Consortium (PAC3). Over the course of three years, the members of PAC3 worked together to write the state’s first ever comprehensive cancer control plan.
The Pennsylvania Comprehensive Cancer Control Plan was developed into a statewide blueprint for all sectors of Pennsylvania—public, academic, private, and volunteer—to work together to meet the growing challenge of cancer control. It addresses survivorship, quality of life, research, prevention, early detection, screening, care and treatment delivery systems.
The effort to bring together this many individuals has been extraordinary. Still, it is recognized that the hardest work is yet to come—the plan can only be as good as our state’s ability to implement it. This effort cannot occur unless real collaboration happens on a local level—and the door remains open for anyone interested in participating. It was this realization that led to PAC3 asking its partners to offer regional forums across the state.
On Friday, October 7, the Penn State Cancer Institute at Mount Nittany Medical Center will host the PAC3 Central Region Forum. This event was coordinated with Mount Nittany and representatives from the Pennsylvania Department of Health, the American Cancer Society, Altoona & Lewistown Hospitals, the Appalachian Cancer Network, the Pennsylvania Office of Rural Health and the Cancer Information Service of the National Cancer Institute.
Now, for the first time, residents of the Centre Region, extending to Centre, Clinton, Lycoming, Clearfield, Cambria, Blair, Mifflin, Juniata and Huntingdon counties can participate in implementing the cancer control plan on a local level.
This forum will provide an occasion to learn more about the work of PAC3, but more importantly, it will allow for participants to network and learn more about each other’s efforts toward cancer control while identifying opportunities for partnership.
To kick off the PAC3 Centre Region forum, Mount Nittany Medical Center will host “An Evening with Patti Fox: Reflections on Breast Cancer Survivorship, Advocacy and Education.” Ms. Fox, a breast cancer survivor and advocate, will talk about her experiences on the evening of October 6.
Both programs are free and open to anyone willing to participate, but registration is required by calling Aileen Galley in the Cancer Program at Mount Nittany at (814) 234-6787 or e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org. More information is available by visiting the PAC3 Web site at www.pac3.org.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a very ambitious challenge—to eliminate suffering and death due to cancer by the year 2015—and the American Cancer Society and the National Cancer Institute have adopted equally aggressive 2015 year challenge goals. It is our hope that by working together, we can transform these visions into reality.
Aileen Galley, ACSW, LSW, is the Administrative Director of the Penn State Cancer Institute at Mount Nittany Medical Center.