(KCPW News) A new report from the Utah Department of Health and the Utah Cancer Action Network will help health departments across the state fight cancer locally. As State Epidemiologist Dr. Robert Rolfs explains, it looks at 61 different communities, evaluating the number of cases, cancer screening rates and tobacco use.
“For example, our tobacco rate is the lowest in the country, about half of that of the country as a whole,” he says. “But there are communities in Utah where the tobacco rate is worse than the rest of the country; in some cases, twice as high as the rest of Utah.
Magna, Rose Park and part of West Valley City have the highest rates of cigarette smoking in the state, according to the report, all exceeding the Utah average of 9.8 percent and the national rate of 19 percent.
Another finding is that Summit County has a high rate of melanoma, a type of skin cancer. Richard Bullough, director of the county’s health department, says it will use the data to build partnerships with local businesses to lower the risks for skin cancer.
“Specifically, the Summit County Health Department is using this information to work with ski areas and basically increase screening, increase education, ways that we can make sure that those individuals who have higher risk – they’re outdoors – actually receive the services they need,” says Bullough.
Cancer is the second leading cause of death in Utah and across the country. According to the health department, more than 1,900 Utahns die from it each year.
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