Georgians of all backgrounds have experienced the devastating impact of cancer. It is the second
leading cause of death in the state, (nearly 15,000 Georgians were expected to die from the disease in
2006), and each day more than 100 new cases are diagnosed. Four cancer types account for the
majority of cancer deaths reported in Georgia. These are: lung, colorectal, breast, and prostate.
Presently, among males, mortality rates from lung and prostate cancer are approximately 20% higher
than the national average.
It is estimated that the total annual cost associated with cancer care in the state is approximately $4.6
billion. Much of this represents costs associated with direct medical care, but indirect costs due to
lost productivity from illness and premature death are also significant.
Though the burden of cancer is shared by all who live in Georgia, the distribution of its impact is
not equally spread across the entire population. Throughout the state, racial/ethnic disparities in
cancer incidence and mortality persist, even as the science of cancer prevention, detection, and
treatment continues to advance.
As a consequence of these and other advances in medical care, Georgians are living longer and face
an ever-increasing risk of developing or living with cancer over their lifetime. Today there are 10
million cancer survivors in the United States, and, though the number residing in Georgia is not
known at this time, more will need to be done to address the health issues faced by this population.
In 2001, the Georgia Cancer Coalition, the only such organization of its type in the nation, facilitated
the creation of a strategic cancer plan that would serve as the reference point for statewide cancer
control efforts for five years. The plan represented the dedicated work of a diverse group of
stakeholders who remain committed to comprehensive cancer control throughout Georgia. To date,
many of the objectives have been achieved. More, however, remains to be done in the effort to
improve Georgia's ability to provide the best cancer care to its residents.
As a part of its mission to improve the quality of cancer care throughout the state, the Georgia
Cancer Coalition commissioned the Institute of Medicine (IOM) to conduct a quality of care study
in 2004. As a result of this study, the IOM outlined and recommended 52 measures to serve as
guideposts for state cancer control activities. Georgia's participation in the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention's (CDC) Comprehensive Cancer Control Leadership Institute has also
served as the backdrop for fresh ideas and motivation for even greater efforts at collaborative cancer
In April 2006, Coalition partners, led by a 16-member Steering Committee, began the process of
revising the state's cancer plan predicated on the recommendations of the IOM, and focusing
Georgia's comprehensive cancer control activities for the next five years on specific and measurable
objectives. The group defined the values and principles of the planning process, outlined crosscutting
themes, and committed itself to the oversight of plan implementation.