Governor signs Cancer Registry Bill
Gov. Ruth Ann Minner recently signed legislation designed to help fight Delaware’s high cancer rates by tracking the disease’s possible environmental causes.
S.B. 372, sponsored by state Senators David McBride and Liane Sorenson and state Representatives Stephanie Ulbrich and John Schroeder, requires that doctors report information on cancer patients such as their length of residency in Delaware, where they live and what type of work they’ve done. The bill also extends the reporting deadline for caregivers who must report to the cancer registry. The bill was one of the governor’s legislative priorities for the 2002 legislative session.
S.B. 372 was one of the recommendations by the Delaware Advisory Council on Cancer Incidence and Mortality, a 14-member council created last year by the governor and the General Assembly. The members, some of whom were present at the signing ceremony Tuesday, presented its landmark report with specific steps for fighting cancer in April.
“With this new information we will be able to find out whether our state’s environment is contributing to our high cancer rate,” Gov. Minner said. “Our goal is to not only decrease our cancer rate, but to make Delaware a model for quality cancer care and early detection, while at the same time ensuring that our environment is a safe one.”
Doctors and organizations failing to comply with the mandates in S.B. 372 will be subject to a fee and a state audit of records that contain information that should be reported. The penalties are designed to ensure that Delaware’s cancer registry information is complete.
The goal of the reporting is to help determine why Delaware’s cancer death rate is third in the nation. In 1999, nearly 3,800 Delawareans were diagnosed with cancer, according to the council’s report. More than 1,700 died. And between 1994 and 1998, the cancer incidence rate in Delaware was 10 percent above the national average.
The cancer advisory council’s report, “Turning Commitment Into Action” lists 26 recommendations for fighting cancer and another 130 specific tasks related to those recommendations. One of the council’s suggestions was to increase knowledge about cancer and its environmental causes.
Some of the council’s suggestions to reduce cancer deaths include increasing screenings for colorectal cancer and cutting tobacco use. Colorectal cancer kills 170 Delawareans a year, even though it is curable it caught early. And tobacco use contributes to more than a third of all cancers in Delaware. But to help reduce the spread of the disease, state officials need to know more about what causes it.
“We need much more information to help save more lives,” Gov. Minner said.
“I want to make sure we’re doing all we can do to fight this disease.”
- The council’s report has five major long-term goals:
- To decrease cancer incidence rates.
- To decrease cancer death rates.
- To make Delaware a model for quality cancer care and early detection.
- To eliminate the differences in cancer rates between different races, genders and socioeconomic groups.
- To learn more about who gets cancer and why.
Nurses mark 50th anniversary of Nanticoke Hospital opening
Nineteen nurses met last Thursday at the RJ Riverside Restaurant in Laurel to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the opening of Nanticoke Memorial Hospital. Many of these nurses from the Delmar, Laurel and Seaford area were members of the original nursing staff that began with the opening of the hospital in 1952. A few of the nurses joined Nanticoke later and are still enjoying their careers in the nursing profession.
From left are: (back row) Connie Peterson, Maggie Ellis, Emily Conner, Pat Wheatley, Ellen Cooper, Barbara Shenton, Betty Hastings, Betty Meyer, Leona Tull, Virginia Johnson (front row) Phyllis Parker, Marge Minner, Sophie Legates, Nell Dolby, Ella King, Louise Riddle Hanson, Berta Copeland, Louise Parker, Betty James. Photo by Brian Cordrey