[Early autumn at Maroon Bells. Photo: Max and Dee Bernt] Spend time in Colorado and it’ll come as no surprise that residents here keep fairly healthy. Colorado is one of the best states in the country for avoiding terminal cancer.
In one study, six out of 10 counties with the lowest cancer rates in the nation were in Colorado. The Colorado Rockies in particular is one of the healthiest areas in the country when it comes to cancer.
One of the reasons for this has been the five-year plans developed for the state. These have been effective at passing legislation and raising awareness of cancer. So how is Colorado fighting back to prevent terminal cancer right now?
1. Reducing Tobacco Usage
Tobacco continues to be one of the leading risk factors in the development of terminal cancer. The reality is Colorado has been fighting back against this for years.
Today, 15.6% of Coloradans smoked, which is compared to 17.1% across the entire nation. Much of the reason for this decline in smoking has been due to a drive for tobacco education and encouraging people not to start smoking in the first place.
2. Decreasing Environmental Exposure
Paul Kraus is the world’s longest mesothelioma survivor. He suffers from one of the world’s most aggressive cancers and he acquired it as a result of been exposed to asbestos.
He has survived mesothelioma, but he is constantly pushing for continued legislation to reduce environmental exposure that can lead to cancer. For example, this includes a drive to reduce pollution rates in Colorado, which explains why the Rockies have such low cancer rates.
3. Increasing Early Diagnosis Rates
Paul credits his ability to survive mesothelioma to his relatively early diagnosis. Research has consistently proven that early diagnosis increases the likelihood of surviving cancer. For example, there’s a 99% survival rate for skin cancer if caught early. The same trend plays out for all cancers.
Cancer tends to become lethal after it spreads to the body’s other organs. Preventing that is the key to surviving cancer. Colorado has worked to get diagnosis rates up by encouraging people to get checked out, and the work continues.
4. Improving Healthy Behaviors
Like the majority of developed countries, there’s a constant drive to improve healthy behaviors. As we spoke about before, Colorado is working to decrease smoking rates.
But Colorado’s plan for the entire state doesn’t just encourage more exercise and healthy eating. It also incorporates improving access to healthier behaviors through addressing social and economic equality.
It should come as no surprise because it’s a well-known fact that poorer communities have higher cancer rates. The lowest cancer rates in Colorado are all in middle to high-income areas. The government is working hard to address low-income parts of the state, as these carry higher cancer rates.
5. Investing in Brand New Cancer Treatments
Colorado is already filled with nonprofit organizations that are ready to invest in the latest cancer treatments, both for treating symptoms and cancer itself. One such venture involves using cannabis to treat cancer.
The use of THC and CBD found in cancer has been used as a way to treat the side effects of chemotherapy many times. However, additional research is being carried out into the treating of cancer tumors themselves.
Immunotherapy is another interesting type of cancer treatment present in Colorado. The University of Colorado is performing research into using vaccinations to heal patients of cancer. At the CU Anschutz campus, there have already been a number of successful immunotherapy cancer treatments performed on patients.
It should be noted that immunotherapy is a relatively new type of treatment, however. With so many hundreds of different cancer strains, immunotherapy remains in its early stages as a cancer treatment.
These are just two major examples of how Colorado is investing in cancer research. Not only is their research offering hope to many Colorado cancer patients, but other states will also benefit from their work.
Last Word – Colorado is Striving to Become the Healthiest State in the Country
Colorado already possesses one of the best cancer rates in the nation. The state government has been attentive to the needs of the community and has regularly published its plans for how it’s going to continue to improve public health. Meanwhile, researchers are working to discover and develop new treatments that address the weaknesses of traditional chemotherapy options.