From the Harford County Health Department:
Harford County, Maryland, January 13, 2014 – With the announcement last week from the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene regarding the release of Cigarette Restitution Fund Program (CRF) Cancer Data for 2013 comes documentation of increases in cancers of the lung and bronchus in Harford County. This most recent report includes cancer incidence and mortality data for 2010.
Lung cancer continues to be the leading cause of cancer death in men and women in Harford County, accounting for 31 percent of all cancer deaths in 2010. The data from 2009 and 2010 reflects that, while the actual number of lung and bronchus cancer cases statewide increased slightly by less than 1 percent, incidence rates (that is, the number of diagnosed cases per 10,000 population) actually decreased by a full 1 percent. However, a comparison of Harford County data over that same period shows increases in both in the number of cases, from 156 in 2009 to 171 in 2010, as well as in incidence rates from 61.5 per 10,000 population to almost 65 per 10,000.
In contrast, while state averages for the total number of cases of all cancers and the rate of incidence of all cancers increased slightly from 2009 to 2010, Harford’s total number of cases and age-adjusted rates per 10,000 population for all cancer sites reflected a modest downturn. Both these Harford figures remain slightly higher than state averages.
Responding to the recent data, Harford County Health Officer Susan Kelly acknowledges the relationship between tobacco use and lung cancer. “The simple truth is that tobacco use in Harford remains greater than Maryland averages.” 2010 Maryland Youth Tobacco Survey data indicates prevalence of use of cigarette smoking, cigar smoking and use of any tobacco product by Harford County youth exceeds state averages. Most current national Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) data also indicates that prevalence of cigarette smoking and smokeless tobacco use among adults and cigarette smoking among pregnant women also remains higher in Harford than state averages.
Ms. Kelly adds, “Cancer prevention and control results from awareness and proactive behaviors. Prevention and cessation of tobacco use in all its forms remains a top priority of the Harford County Health Department and with our community partners. Many aggressive initiatives already are in place that focus attention and resources on reducing the economic, health and humanitarian burdens of tobacco use in our county. Included among them are our CRF Tobacco Program, our Local Health Improvement Coalition and its Tobacco Workgroup, our federal Community Transformation Grant, a local Lung Disease Lawyer and our participation in Healthy Harford, the county’s non-profit 501c3 coalition representing local government agencies, businesses, non-profits.”
The full report is posted on the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Center for Cancer Prevention and Control website at: http://phpa.dhmh.maryland.gov/cancer/SiteAssets/SitePages/surv_data-reports/2013%20Cancer%20Data%20Final.pdf
For more information about the published report, or tobacco use awareness and educational efforts in the county, call the Division of Public Health Education or visit the Harford County Health Department website at www.harfordcountyhealth.com.