Cancer is the second leading cause of death in Colorado. Lifestyle, genetic and non- genetic factors, independently or in combination, can increase an individual's risk of developing cancer. Changes in lifestyle, including reduction in tobacco use and modification of the diet to reduce fat and increase fiber consumption, and early detection and intervention, can significantly reduce mortality from some cancers. Reductions in cancer incidence achieved through risk factor interventions may also reduce cancer morbidity and mortality.
Screening interventions that result in early detection will have a proportionally greater impact upon cancer mortality, because cancer is more likely to respond to treatment when detected at an early stage. Screening interventions continue to need support. Mammography screening has led to increased early detection and treatment of breast cancer. Endoscopic and fecal occult blood testing, if more widely used, could further decrease mortality from colorectal cancer. The Pap test continues to be a powerful tool for early detection of pre-malignt lesions and cervical cancer in women.
Additional determinants of cancer include genetics and environmental exposures.
An individual's genetic background can also be a determinant of cancer risk. It is important to understand that about 5-10% of cancers are related to genetic predisposition. An increased risk for colorectal, breast, prostate, ovarian, and thyroid cancers, as well as malignant melanoma, exists for persons with first- degree relatives with a history of these respective types of cancer. Women who have BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutations are at an increased risk for breast and ovarian cancer. The CCC would like to heighten general awareness of these factors.
Testing and mitigation of radon exposure, because of its effect on lung cancer risk, are ongoing processes in the state.