$15 Million Grant to LSU Health NO to Help Reduce Cancer in Louisiana

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has awarded LSU Health New Orleans School of Public Health $15 million, over five years, for its cancer education, early detection, comprehensive control, and registry programs. The funding will support the Louisiana Breast and Cervical Health and Comprehensive Cancer Control programs, as well as the Louisiana Tumor Registry at LSU Health New Orleans School of Public Health.

LSU Health New Orleans’ Louisiana Breast and Cervical Health Program offers no-cost mammograms, and Pap tests, to low-income, uninsured, or underinsured women, across the state. This program, which is the result of a Congressional Act, has a counterpart in every state, the District of Columbia, five United States territories, and 11 tribal organizations. Yet, it is the only such program housed at an academic institution, and has been singled out by the CDC as one of the best run programs of its kind, making it a learning opportunity unique to LSU Health.

Charged with developing, building, and providing technical assistance for partnerships and coalitions working to improve health in communities, LSU Health New Orleans’ Comprehensive Cancer Control Program focuses on preventable cancers, and two of cancer’s major risk factors--tobacco and obesity. Money from this grant helps fund the Louisiana Colorectal Cancer Roundtable – a consortium of health experts, insurers, legislators, and others led by LSU Health New Orleans and the American Cancer Society, and working on policies to improve colorectal cancer screening rates in the state – as well as the state’s nine Louisiana Healthy Communities Coalitions, which work on community-led projects, and the Louisiana Comprehensive Cancer Control Plan.

The Louisiana Tumor Registry at LSU Health New Orleans School of Public Health, a statewide population-based cancer registry, collects detailed information about cancer patients, their treatments, and outcomes to help guide policies for cancer prevention, early detection, diagnosis, treatment, prognosis, and survivorship. These data can help reduce the state’s cancer burden and disparities, and can improve the survival and quality of life for all cancer patients. The Registry is one of the original participants of the National Program of Cancer Registries funded by the CDC, and one of 18 registries invited to participate in the National Cancer Institutes’ Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program, after a rigorous competitive application process.

“More than half of all cancers are preventable, or can be detected early and cured,” notes Donna Williams, DrPH, Director of Louisiana Cancer Prevention & Control Programs, and Associate Dean for Public Health Practice and Community Engagement at LSU Health New Orleans School of Public Health. “While Louisiana has one of the highest death rates from cancer in the country, the cancer control programs at LSU Health New Orleans School of Public Health are working across the state to help Louisianans prevent cancers such as cervical, colorectal, skin, and tobacco-related cancers, and to detect cancers such as breast very early, when 95 out of 100 cases can be cured.”

These programs also benefit from state matching funds. The Louisiana Breast and Cervical Health Program receives close to $700,000, while the Louisiana Tumor Registry receives about $230,000 in state matching funds.

“I am very grateful for the continued funding support from the CDC for the Louisiana Tumor Registry,” adds Xiaocheng Wu, MD, MPH, Professor and Director of the Louisiana Tumor Registry at LSU Health New Orleans School of Public Health. “The funding will continue to help the Louisiana Tumor Registry to improve the completeness, quality, and timeliness of its data and expand the use of the data to reduce the cancer burden in Louisiana.”