Community Preventive Services Task Force 2014-2015 annual report to Congress federal agencies and prevention stakeholders, including a special update on recommendations to prevent cancers: guiding community health outcomes through evidence
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The Community Preventive Services Task Force (Task Force) is an independent, nonpartisan, nonfederal, unpaid 15-member panel of public health and prevention experts appointed by the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The Task Force was established in 1996 by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to support the efforts of a wide range of U.S. decision makers by identifying programs, services, and policies that can be carried out in communities, states and healthcare settings to help save American lives and dollars, increase longevity, and improve quality of life. The work of the Task Force, as defined in Section 399U of the Public Health Service Act [42 U.S.C. §280g-10] includes eight activities. Of the these activities, the Task Force provides annual reports to Congress and related agencies identifying remaining evidence gaps and recommending priority areas deserving further examination.
This report covers the work of the Task Force and its impact on the health of people in the United States. Evidence gaps and needs are also discussed in this report, along with information on how public health programs can be strengthened through the use of evidence-based findings. In addition, this report contains “Community Guide in Action” stories that highlight how organizations and communities use Task Force recommendations to address their own public health objectives.
The intent of this report and future annual reports to Congress is to provide updates on the work of the Community Preventive Services Task Force as it helps to strengthen the evidence base for public health. This 2014–2015 Annual Report to Congress highlights the Task Force ‘s work in strengthening our nation’s ability to prevent cancers—all-too-common illnesses that place a great burden on individuals, their families, places of work, communities, and our healthcare system. This report also summarizes the recent recommendations of the Task Force in multiple areas, where knowledge and prevention have the potential to reduce illness, injury, disability, and premature death and improve well-being.
Special Focus on Cancers in the United States: According to CDC, cancers are the leading cause of death among people less than 80 years, and second leading cause overall in the United States, responsible for an average of 1,575 deaths each day. In 2010, the cost of medical care for patients with cancers was an estimated $124.6 billion in the United States, as reported by the National Cancer Institute.
Suffering and death from cancers could be prevented by more systematic prevention efforts, such as reducing tobacco use, controlling the epidemic of obesity, improving diet and physical activity, and expanding use of established screening tests. Thus, the Task Force has chosen to highlight its cancer work for this report. The Task Force continues efforts to identify effective ways to:
Reduce the number of people who start smoking, increase the number who quit, and protect non smokers from the negative effects of secondhand smoke;
Increase knowledge and actions that help people change or acquire eating and activity habits in ways that can lead to lifelong improvements in health;
Increase appropriate use of established screening tests (e.g., colonoscopy, mammogram, Pap tests) and to educate children, young people, adults and other caregivers on ways to reduce risky sun exposure during peak sunlight hours.