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Prevention

Prevention is stopping cancer before it starts. This includes promoting healthy living habits amongst adults and youth to reduce the risk of cancer occurring from a poor diet, drinking alcohol, and inadequate physical activity.

Smoking tobacco and exposure to second-hand smoke and other carcinogens are known risk factors to cause lung cancer. By not initiating smoking, quitting smoking, and reducing one’s exposure to second-hand smoke and other environmental carcinogens, individuals can reduce their risk for developing cancer.

One form of cancer prevention is receiving the HPV vaccine, which is known to protect against HPV that causes HPV-associated cancers. This vaccine is recommended for adolescents at the age of 11 or 12 through the age of 26. The vaccine can be given starting at the age of 9.

Lastly, knowing one’s family history and utilizing genetic counseling can inform an individual of their risk of cancer through their genetic makeup. Knowing this information can help individuals determine whether getting screened earlier and / or more often is recommended based on their level of risk.

The prevention goals are:

  1. Increase healthy living habits among youth and adults
  2. Reduce exposure to environmental carcinogens
  3. Prevent tobacco-related lung cancers among youth and adults
  4. Prevent HPV-related cancers
  5. Promote awareness of hereditary cancers and use of genetic counseling

Increase Healthy Living Habits Among Youth and Adults

  • Objective 1: Decrease the percentage of high school students who did not eat vegetables from 7.9% to 7.1% by 2027 (YRBSS 2019).
  • Objective 2: Decrease the percentage of high school students who drank a sugar-sweetened soda one or more times per day from 13.7% to 12.3% by 2027 (YRBSS 2019).
  • Objective 3: Decrease the percentage of high school students who are obese (a body mass index of 30 or greater) from 15.2% to 13.7% by 2027 (YRBSS 2019).
  • Objective 4: Increase the percentage of adults who eat one vegetable per day from 76.6% to 84.3% by 2027 (BRFSS 2019).
  • Objective 5: Decrease the percentage of adults who are overweight (a body mass index between BMI is 25.0 to less than 30) or obese from 65.7% to 59.1% by 2027 (BRFSS 2019).
    Healthy People 2030 Target: 36.0%
  • Objective 6: Decrease the percentage of adults who binge drink alcohol from 19.9% to 17.9% by 2027 (BRFSS 2019). Binge drinking for men is having five or more drinks and women having four or more drinks on one occasion.
    Healthy People 2030 Target: 25.4%
  • Objective 7: Increase the percentage of adults ages 18-64 with health insurance coverage from 84.4% to 92.8% by 2027 (BRFSS 2019).
    Healthy People 2030 Target: 92.1%
  • Objective 8: Increase the percentage of adults who visited a doctor in the past year from 76.5% to 84.2% by 2027 (BRFSS 2019).

Strategies

Policy Strategies

  • Engage employers to adopt cancer control plans and to adopt health improvement policies
  • Integrate healthy living principles in programs and policymaking (e.g., Health in All Policies)

System Strategies

  • Partner with health and hospital systems to promote healthy food and beverage choices
  • Promote access to and consumption of healthy beverages
  • Promote SNAP-Ed and similar nutrition education assets
  • Promote access to fresh fruits and vegetables at food pantries
  • Engage patient navigators or community health workers to provide education, referral, and follow-up for those at high risk for poor health outcomes

Environmental Changes Strategies

  • Provide access to free, safe drinking water, and limit access to sugary drinks in schools, places of work, and health care settings
  • Promote physical fitness in workplaces and physical education in all tax-funded programs, such as schools and park districts

Health Equity Strategies

  • Educate the public about how and where to access health insurance coverage if uninsured or underinsured
  • Provide health insurance outreach and support to assist individuals whose employers do not offer affordable coverage, who are self-employed, or who are unemployed
  • Deliver patient education materials that are culturally and linguistically tailored to specific patient populations (print and online)
  • Utilize education-related recommendations from The Community Guide to promote health equity

Reduce Exposure to Environmental Carcinogens

  • Objective 1: Decrease the amount of particulate matter the general public is exposed to from 9.5 microns to 8.3 microns in micrograms per cubic meter by 2027 (https://www.americashealthrankings.org/explore/annual/measure/air/state/IL).
  • Objective 2: Increase the number of Illinois schools tested for radon from 89 to 200 by 2027 (IEMA School testing program for radon with American Lung Association).
  • Objective 3: Reduce the percentage of tested classrooms with a ≥ 4.0 pCi/L measurement for radon from 9.7% to 8.7% by 2027 (IEMA School Testing Program for radon with American Lung Association).
  • Objective 4: Reduce the percentage of tested schools with one classroom with a ≥ 4.0 pCi/L measurement for radon from 65.6% to 59.0% by 2027 (IEMA School Testing Program for radon with American Lung Association).

Strategies

Policy Strategies

  • Advocate for enforcement of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rules to reduce air pollution and to address climate change to increase the use of renewable energy sources
  • Advocate for increasing new zero emission and low emission hybrid vehicles on the road

System Strategies

  • Support state and local policies that protect lung health from the impacts of a changing climate, including mitigation efforts in support of carbon neutrality, adaptation, and promoting community health resilience, especially in communities most heavily impacted by air pollution and climate change health risks
  • Support state and local policies that expand energy efficiency and non‐combustion clean electricity usage and production, including wind, solar, geothermal, and tidal
  • Support state and local actions that require or ensure rapid transition to zero emission transportation solutions, including public fleet purchases, transit and school buses, ride-hailing systems
  • Support state and local policies that reduce traffic pollution and vehicle miles traveled through policies that prioritize investments in active transportation, mass transit, and smart growth
  • Support continuing funding for clean air enforcement, monitoring, and cleanup programs, including pollution reduction incentive
  • Promote use of new ICD-10 codes to capture data on contact with and suspected exposure to arsenic, lead, and asbestos
  • Promote the School Radon Testing program established by the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA)
  • Promote the use of radon resistant construction techniques

Environmental Changes Strategies

  • Reduce exposure to natural and to artificial ultraviolet radiation
  • Increase community demand for radon testing

Health Equity Strategies

  • Support state efforts to eliminate the root causes of environmental injustices contributing to the health inequities related to exposure to poor air quality that affect the well-being of communities of color and historically underrepresented populations

Prevent Tobacco-related Lung Cancers Among Youth and Adults

  • Objective 1: Decrease the percentage of high school students who currently smoke cigarettes or used electronic vapor products in the last 30 days from 20.9% to 18.8% by 2027 (YRBSS 2019).
  • Objective 2: Decrease the percentage of high school students who currently use smokeless tobacco in the last 30 days from 4.1% to 3.7% by 2027 (YRBSS 2019).
  • Objective 3: Decrease the percentage of adults who are current smokers from 14.5% to 13.1% by 2027 (BRFSS 2019).
    Healthy People 2030 Target: 5.0%
  • Objective 4: Decrease the percentage of adults who currently use smokeless tobacco from 2.7% to 2.4% by 2027 (BRFSS 2019).
  • Objective 5: Increase the number of adults using to the Illinois Tobacco Quitline from 2,202 callers to 2,459 callers for FY2022 and 5% annually thereafter (Illinois Tobacco Quitline FY 2020).

Strategies

Policy Strategies

  • Advocate for continued state funding for tobacco control programs, including prevention, education, and cessation and ensure that funding is spent according to CDC’s Best Practices for Comprehensive Tobacco Control Programs
  • Advocate to ensure continued access to cessation services for all those who want to quit smoking, including comprehensive coverage for cessation services under Medicaid, and both public and private insurance with a focus on disparate groups
  • Advocate for laws directed at minors’ purchase, possession, or use to restrict minor’s access to tobacco products

System Strategies

  • Support prohibiting the sale of all flavored tobacco products (including menthol)
  • Promote use of the Illinois Tobacco Quitline through multiple channels targeting smokers, their physicians, health educators, and public health departments
  • Promote tobacco history screening and pack-year assessments in primary care settings
  • Refer at-risk patients for a low dose computed tomography (LDCT)
  • Social media campaign targeting smokers with messaging that lung cancer diagnosed in early stages is curable
  • Collaborate with partners to provide school-based tobacco prevention programs that have age-specific classroom curricula and implemented as special school programs, media literacy training, and peer education programs

Environmental Changes Strategies

  • Support the Smoke-Free Illinois Act and local comprehensive smoke-free laws that cover all bars, restaurants, casinos/gaming establishments and workplaces; without loopholes. Expand to include e-cigarettes, outdoor spaces, and multi-unit housing.

Health Equity Strategies

  • Increase the availability of tobacco use cessation services for individuals affected by tobacco-related disparities
  • Reduce client out-of-pocket costs to increase tobacco use cessation
  • Media campaign series to increase tobacco use cessation
  • Deliver patient education materials that are culturally and linguistically tailored to specific patient populations (print and online)
  • Utilize education-related recommendations from The Community Guide to promote health equity

Prevent HPV-related Cancers

  • Objective 1: Increase the percentage of female adolescents ages 13-17 who have at least received one dose of the HPV vaccine from 72.1% to 79.3% by 2027 (TeenVaxView 2019).
  • Objective 2: Increase the percentage of male adolescents ages 13-17 who have at least received one dose of the HPV vaccine from 71.3% to 78.4% by 2027 (TeenVaxView 2019).
  • Objective 3: Increase the percentage of female adolescents ages 13-17 who are up to date on the HPV vaccine from 55.2% to 60.7% by 2027 (TeenVaxView 2019).
    Healthy People 2030 Target: 80%
  • Objective 4: Increase the percentage of male adolescents ages 13-17 who are up to date on the HPV vaccine from 54.5% to 60% by 2027 (TeenVaxView 2019).
    Healthy People 2030 Target: 80%

Strategies

Policy Strategies

  • Recommend all vaccinations are entered into the state immunization information system
  • Recommend state public health department reports HPV vaccination rates

System Strategies

  • Recommend the HPV vaccine for children at age 9 when vaccination can be started
  • Recommend the HPV vaccine for children at ages 11 or 12 for routine vaccination
  • Recommend and support adolescents and young adults to receive the HPV vaccine through age 26
  • Support the Illinois’ Strategic Action Plan to Eliminate Vaccine Preventable Cancers and recommended policy, systems, and practice changes
  • Disseminate promising practices to health and hospital systems, providers, parents, public health partners, et al.
  • Explore health plan/payer partnerships to prioritize adolescent vaccination series
  • Develop and share social media content (stories and video) on positive patient experiences, provider practice improvement, and current research
  • Deploy co-branded public awareness messaging with prevention partners
  • Integrate education about early cancer prevention in school settings and curricula
  • Host public educational forums throughout the year
  • Expand partnership opportunities during annual events, such as Cervical Cancer Awareness Month (January), International HPV Awareness Day (March), Back-to-school vaccination (summer)
  • Utilize National HPV Vaccination roundtable resources for clinicians, nurses and medical assistants, oral health care provider, support staff et al., including guidance for effective provider recommendation, patient reminder systems, provider reminder systems, provider assessment and feedback (e.g., scorecards), reduction of structural barriers, professional practice roundtables, and learning collaboratives

Environmental Changes Strategies

  • Provide community-wide education

Health Equity Strategies

  • Deliver patient education materials that are culturally and linguistically tailored to specific patient populations (print and online)
  • Utilize education-related recommendations from The Community Guide to promote health equity
  • Collaborate with local partners to educate the community about HPV vaccination for cancer prevention
  • Collaborate with local health officials and community organizations to address challenges, such as transportation and health care costs to increase HPV vaccinations

Promote Awareness of Hereditary Cancers and Use of Genetic Counseling

  • Objective 1: Promote two resources annually to patients on hereditary cancer risks and cancer genetic counseling services
  • Objective 2: Promote two resources annually to providers on hereditary cancer risks, such as breast, ovarian, and colorectal cancers
  • Objective 3: Increase the number of certified genetic counselors in Illinois by 10% from 77 to 85 by 2027 (https://findageneticcounselor.nsgc.org/In-Person-FindaGC?reload=timezone)

Strategies

Policy Strategies

  • Providers follow U.S. Preventive Service Task Force (USPSTF) recommendation for genetic counseling for potentially high-risk women and men

System Strategies

  • Promote “Know Your Family’s Health History” available at https://www.dph.illinois.gov/topics-services/life-stages-populations/genomics
  • Expand efforts to collect cancer family histories, to conduct risk assessments, and to refer patients to genetic counseling services in primary care settings (FQHCs, local health departments, etc.)
  • Expand community outreach efforts to increase public awareness of family history, hereditary cancers, and genetic counseling
  • Create or promote public awareness campaigns (such as governor’s proclamations, news releases, and social media dissemination of awareness days) (e.g., March 22 Lynch Syndrome Awareness Day, Thanksgiving National Family Health History Awareness Day, etc.)
  • Educate providers to initiate dialogue around genetic counseling and testing
  • Promote the addition of accredited genetic counselor programs

Environmental Changes Strategies

  • Educate and increase awareness of genetic counseling and testing

Health Equity Strategies

  • Develop and disseminate culturally and linguistically appropriate patient education materials (print and online)
  • Encourage new cancer genetic services in underserved areas, such as satellite clinics, telemedicine, cancer genetic clinic partners with local public health departments, and/or primary care providers in rural areas