Cancer Center Joins Communities in Kicking Cancer
April 16, 2010
We all know someone affected by cancer, but we don't always know what each of us can do to reduce our risks of getting cancer. Fortunately, a community partnership to prevent cancer, known as the Kick Cancer campaign, is now underway in the Woodsville-Haverhill communities. Cottage Hospital and Norris Cotton Cancer Center are working in collaboration with other community partners to increase awareness about cancer risks and behaviors that may lead to cancer.
In January 2010, Telisa Stewart, Director of Community Education and Prevention at the Cancer Center, began meeting with hospital and community leaders to shape the campaign. Kick Cancer aims to help people live healthier lives and change behaviors that affect their risk for cancer. The campaign addresses sun safety, nutrition, tobacco, exercise and obesity. It also encourages people to talk with their health care providers about screenings for prostate, breast, colorectal and skin cancer.
The Cancer Center's goal in its community outreach work is to build and support programs in the community that lower the risk of cancer, and Cottage Hospital quickly came on board to help promote healthy communities.
During a recent interview with The Bridge Weekly Sho-Case, Stewart stated that the Woodsville-Haverhill area was chosen based on "its need for information, its ability to support programs, and to share resources regarding cancer prevention and information about cancer screening."
"It's exciting," remarks Stewart. "The Woodsville-Haverhill area is an opportunity for us to build a model for preventing cancer in the community with the idea that we can bring this model to other communities in the future."
Using programs with proven effectiveness, Stewart has focused her energies on connecting people and resources, with hopes of developing a program that will become self-sustaining over time.
To reach the many layers of people within the community, she has networked with area organizations, including: Cottage Hospital, Horse Meadow Senior Center, Meals on Wheels, Haverhill Area Recreation Program (HARP), Woodsville Elementary School (WES), Haverhill Cooperative Middle School (HCMS), Woodsville High School(WHS), Grafton County Nursing Home, Woodsville Guaranty Savings Bank, Three Rivers Business Association, WYKR/Puffer Broadcasting, Woodsville-Wells River 4th of July Committee and the North Haverhill Fair Committee.
According to Stewart, programs that will be brought to area youth via WES, HCMS, WHS, Little League and various HARP-affiliated activities will include sun safety, concerns associated with tanning, tobacco prevention and general nutrition. Three of the area's largest employers will also be participating in the Kick Cancer campaign. They will provide information to their employees about cancer prevention and screening options for various types of cancer. Employees will also receive monthly newsletters from the American Cancer Society regarding a broader range of cancer-related topics.
The Horse Meadow Senior Center will also host discussions about age-related cancers and screening options available to people age 55 and older. Seniors participating in the Meals on Wheels program will receive pamphlets about nutrition and healthy eating habits as well as the risks associated with obesity. Similar programs centered on the Kick Cancer theme will be made available to the community through the media.
"Cottage Hospital has been a key player," Stewart maintains. "They have taken a collaborative stance on cancer prevention. We're working together for an important cause, and the individuals that I met with in the community are also very open to having me participate in their activities."
"The Cancer Center wants to bring awareness to the community about behaviors that put people at more risk and to offer resources to help motivate them to want to change those behaviors. We're looking to inspire action in the community so that people will use these resources to prevent cancer."
To learn more about the Kick Cancer campaign and other resources available in the Woodsville-Haverhill area, please contact Telisa Stewart at (603) 653-9960 or Telisa.Stewart@dartmouth.edu.
A version of this article was published in The Bridge Weekly Sho-Case on April 15, 2010. Republished with permission.