Even before the School of Public Health officially became a school, LSU was leading the charge in cancer prevention and research. Dr. Elizabeth Fontham, the School’s founding dean, completed the first U.S. case-control study demonstrating the increased risk that tobacco smoke poses to non-smokers. That landmark study and her further work eventually led the Environmental Protection Agency to classify secondhand smoke as a carcinogen, laid the groundwork for smoke-free laws and propelled her into the top position at the American Cancer Society, making her its first-ever non-physician president.
Louisiana Cancer Prevention and Control Program (LCP)
That ground-breaking cancer work continues at LSU today, with much of it coming under the auspices of LCP, a series of programs, projects and studies funded mainly by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). LCP’s mission is to “eliminate suffering and death in Louisiana by focusing on cancers that can be prevented or detected early and cured,” and currently covers breast, cervical and HPV, colorectal, lung and other tobacco-related cancers. With its approximate $24 million in grants, LCP is heading the following efforts:
LCP Programs, Projects & Studies:
- The Louisiana Breast and Cervical Health Program (LBCHP) (lbchp.org). LBCHP 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 U.S. 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. With the advent of the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid expansion, LBCHP’s mission will continue to ensure that women continue to receive those services and is also now expanding into new areas such as patient navigation and health systems change.
- Gulf States Young Breast Cancer Survivor Network/SurviveDAT (survivedat.org). SurviveDAT offers online advice, support and resources for young women diagnosed with breast cancer across Louisiana (SurviveDAT), Mississippi (SurviveMISS) and Alabama (SurviveAL). Black women are disproportionately affected by breast cancer under age 45, which means more women in the South are dealing issues unique to young breast cancer survivors (YBCS), such as fertility and career concerns. And, as young breast cancer is relatively rate (11% of new cases) and the South is more rural, online communications and resources are the best way to reach this group of women.
- HPV Studies. LCP is working on a series of studies centered on simplifying HPV diagnoses by studying the efficacy of at-home tests, as well as improving HPV vaccination rates by studying how physicians with high vaccine compliance rates achieve those numbers.
- Louisiana Colorectal Health Project (LCHP). LCHP is working to make quality improvements in health systems, specifically in this case, by providing “hot spot” Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) with a clinic electronic health record software “overlay” to help improve communication and colorectal cancer screening rates.
- Louisiana Colorectal Cancer Roundtable (LCCRT). The LCCRT is a consortium of health experts, insurers, legislators and more, led by LCP and the American Cancer Society, which is working on policies to improve colorectal cancer screening rates in the state. Modeled after the National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable, its goal too is “80% By 2018,” meaning it wishes to see 80% of Louisianians age 50 and over screened by 2018.
- State Partnerships. The CDC issues under a number of grants under its Comprehensive Cancer Control Program (CCCP), with LCP at LSU being one of the rare academic recipients, presenting another unique learning opportunity for students. Charged with developing, building and providing technical assistance for partnerships and coalitions working to improve health in communities, LCCCP focuses on preventable cancers and two of its major risk factors: tobacco and obesity. Money from this grant therefore helps fund the above-mentioned LCCRT; the state’s nine Louisiana Healthy Communities Coalitions (LHCC) which work on community-led projects; and the State Cancer Plan.
- Survivorship Plans. Cancer experts are recognizing the value of long-term survival planning, with LCP working to devise these plans for survivors of the following cancers: breast, cervical, colorectal, lung, prostate and kidney/renal pelvic.
LCP efforts all entail a variety of functions, with LCP featuring experts in data and evaluation, community partnerships, communications, policy, professional development, specialized skills such as data visualization, and internal business staff. To find our more, contact Dr. Donna Williams, LCP Director and LSU Associate Professor at email@example.com.