State health officials and an advisory board have released a six-year plan to help fight cancer in North Carolina. The plan identifies six specific cancers that are prevalent in the state and recommends specific strategies to fight them.
Dr. Ruth Petersen is with the Department of Health and Human Services. She notes lung cancer is one of the diseases identified in the report. Petersen says causes include exposure to smoke, secondhand smoke, or radon gas.
"What the state needs to do is take notice of how to diminish the risk of all North Carolinians for those risk factors," says Petersen. "So North Carolina has radon in some parts of its geography, so it's important to test homes especially in those areas for radon."
Petersen says policymakers also need to pay attention to the risks of exposure to tobacco smoke and find ways to decrease it. She says a law passed by the General Assembly in 2010 making bars and restaurants smoke free was an important step. Petersen says that law is a good example of how policymakers, health officials and others can work together to fight cancer.