The Iowa Cancer Consortium is holding a series of forums to get input on its plan for battling cancer in the state. Dr. George Weiner is the president of the consortium’s board of directors.

 Weiner says they have developed two other state cancer control plans that outlines where they would like to focus their efforts and they are now developing a new five-year plan and are looking for public input “on the issues that are most important to the people of Iowa with respect to how we as a community can reduce the burden of cancer on our citizens.”

Weiner is the director of the Holden Comprehenive Cancer Research Center at the University of Iowa. He says some of the things in the new draft of the plan will stay the same. “We know for example that lifestyle issues are probably responsible for about a third of the cancer deaths in Iowa,” Weiner says, “so tobacco control, encouraging people to live healthy lifestyles otherwise, exercise, avoiding obesity, getting appropriate check ups with their doctors and cancer screenings, mammography, pap smears, and screening for cancer of the colon, were in the plan before and are in the plan again.”

Weiner says they’re holding the forums to see if the public understands the approach they are taking to fight cancer. “It doesn’t help much if we come up with a complex plan that nobody can understand or utilize,” Weiner says. He says a key issue is if the plan resonates with people, whether the plan might be justified based on research, but isn’t really practical. Weiner says they want to know if there are things that people think can work better.

The next forums are Wednesday, March 23rd from 8 A.M. to 9:30 A.M. at the Great River Medical Center in West Burlington. There’s one in Des Moines at Mercy Medical Center from 11:30 A.M. until one p.m. on March 29th. They will also hold two community feedback teleconferences: March 18th from nine to 10 A.M., and April 27th from 12 to one p.m.

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