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Next Week: Celebrate National Public Health Week

During the first full week of April each year, the American Public Health Association (APHA) brings together communities across the U.S. to observe National Public Health Week as a time to recognize the contributions of public health and highlight issues that are important to improving our nation's health. This year, APHA’s theme is “Centering and Celebrating Cultures in Health” to ensure everyone, in all cultural communities, has a chance at a long and healthy life. To do so, we must address and prevent the underlying causes of poor health and disease risk. Beginning April 3, use their toolkit to plan local events in your community and their fact sheets and shareables to explore different public health topics with your friends, family and community members. Find more information and toolkits from APHA here.

NCHCMM: Abstracts Now Open!

Please join us for the National Conference on Health Communication, Marketing and Media (NCHCMM) in Atlanta, Georgia on July 18 - 20, 2023. For more than 15 years, CDC and the National Public Health Information Coalition (NPHIC), have partnered to make NCHCMM the nation's premier public health communications conference. NEW: Abstracts are now open for submission for the conference! To learn more about the submission process and to submit your abstract, click here. Abstracts submissions close on Thursday, April 13.

NPHIC Blog: Can AI Detect Cancers That Doctors Miss?

Artificial intelligence (AI) holds promise in medicine, particularly in cancer detection. AI advancements have been shown to improve screenings by helping spot the early signs that doctors might overlook. AI tools speed up the imaging process, make it possible to identify cancer cells earlier, and produce more accurate results. Medicine is not an exact science, and some physicians and diagnosticians miss early signs of cancer. AI technology can pick up early indicators that otherwise fall through the cracks. This article from NPHIC discusses the use of AI in medicine and its application in screenings for various types of cancers. 


STI Awareness Week - April 9–15

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Having a sexually transmitted illness (STI) is extremely common. In fact, more than half of Americans will experience a STI in their lifetime. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that, at any given time, one in five adults in the United States has an STI. However, despite their ubiquity, there is still a stigma surrounding STIs and the critical discussions about sexual health that can lead to a reduction in STIs. Public health communicators have an imperative to communicate critical sexual health information, and everyone in the general public stands to benefit from knowing more about STIs and their impact. 

In honor of STI Awareness week, which is April 9–15, 2023, here’s what you need to know about STIs and how to get checked. 

Who’s Most Likely to Be Impacted by an STI? 

Anyone who is sexually active can get an STI. However, you’re more likely to contract an STI if you’re between the ages of 15 and 24 years old. In fact, the CDC estimates that more than half of new infections in a recent year occurred within this age group. However, anyone of any age, gender, or sexual orientation can get an STI. 

The Impact of STIs Can Extend Beyond a Current Infection 

Having a sexually transmitted infection can cause uncomfortable symptoms, such as itching, burning with urination, discharge, foul-smelling odors, or rashes. Many STIs can be fully cured, and these symptoms will go away with treatment. However, even after an STI has been treated, it can cause residual problems, such as making it harder to get pregnant in the future. Some STIs can even increase your risk of developing cancer. 

Colorectal Cancer Awareness

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To many people, colon or colorectal cancer seems like a disease that only happens to older people. However, the medical community has cause for alarm regarding the increasing number of adults under 45 who develop the disease. 

If you are under 50 and think you can wait to screen for colon cancer, think again. Rates of colorectal cancer are on the rise, and more young adults are getting diagnosed when the disease is in its advanced stages. Here is what you should know about colorectal cancer, the importance of screening, and how to reduce your risk. 

Colorectal Cancer and Young Adults 

This year in the U.S., about 20,000 adults under 50 will get a colon cancer diagnosis, and experts estimate that 3,750 will die from this disease. Colorectal cancer is one of the deadliest cancers for people under 50, probably because it is often advanced when detected. According to a 2021 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), colorectal cancer is on track to become the number-one cause of death among adults aged 20-49. 

Colon cancer diagnoses are on the rise among younger adults. Since the 1990s, cases among adults under 50 have risen by about 50%. The American Cancer Society reports that between 1995 and 2019, cases among people under 55 increased from 11% to 20%. Moreover, individuals born after 1990 are twice as likely as people born in 1950 to get colorectal cancer. 

Researchers have identified some factors contributing to the rise in colon cancer in younger adults, some diet related. For example, women consuming more than two sugary beverages per day double their risk of early-stage colorectal cancer. This increased risk also tends to occur among individuals eating more processed meats and meals and fewer fresh foods and produce. 

Obesity More Deadly than Previously Believed

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Research has consistently shown that obesity is correlated with many health risks, including diabetes and other chronic conditions. New findings call into question current beliefs about being overweight, specifically that only extreme obesity and underweight increase mortality risk. A new study suggests that obesity is a greater health threat than previously thought. 

Obesity Risks and Diabetes 

Obesity is one of the most prevalent public health threats in the U.S. According to 2021 findings of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), the prevalence of obesity in this country rose from 30.5% to 41.9% from 1999-2000 through 2017-2020. During this period, severe obesity rates increased from 4.7% to 9.2%. 

Obesity places a significant economic burden on the U.S. In 2019, the cost of treating obesity and related conditions was almost $173 billion. Adults with obesity paid an average of $1,861 more in medical expenses than those with a healthy weight. 

Being overweight or obese often comes with coexisting health conditions or comorbidities. One prevalent comorbidity is diabetes, which afflicts 37.3 million (11.3%) of the U.S. population. Experts estimate that 8.5 million individuals remain undiagnosed. 

Diabetes rates experienced continual increases for several years. But from 2009 to 2019, prevalence decreased from 9.3 to 5.9 per 1,000 adults. However, prediabetes rates are rising, with diagnoses increasing from 6.5% to 17.4%. 

Being overweight is the leading factor that raises the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. This disease was the eighth most common cause of death in 2020. The combination of obesity and diabetes can also increase a person’s cardiovascular disease risk. 

Eli Lilly Caps the Cost of Insulin

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On March 1, 2023, the pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly announced in a press release that it would be capping the cost of insulin. Insulin is a ubiquitous medicine. It is crucial to the health of people who suffer from Type 1 diabetes and many who have Type 2 diabetes and gestational diabetes as well. Even though insulin is a very common medicine that more than 8 million Americans use, the price of insulin has been historically high, with the average monthly cost at $54 and as many as 24% of Americans paying $70 per month. Making this medicine more affordable is a major event in the lives of people who live with insulin-dependent diabetes. 

Here’s what you need to know about this recent cost cap and what it could spell for the future. 

What Is the Background of the Eli Lilly Cost Cap? 

The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, introduced by the Biden Administration, capped the out-of-pocket cost of insulin at $35 a month for Americans who receive Medicare Part D. A second wave of cost capping is scheduled to begin this summer of 2023 for Medicare Part B beneficiaries. This legislation has pressured drug companies to follow suit and cap the cost of insulin for all, not just those receiving Medicare. 

How Much of a Cost Cap Did Eli Lilly Introduce? 

At the beginning of March, Eli Lilly announced price reductions of 70% for its most popular forms of prescription insulin. It also announced an expansion of its Insulin Value Program, which caps the cost of insulin at $35 per month, matching the out-of-pocket monthly cost for Medicare beneficiaries. This move was recognized by many as a positive step in the right direction in the battle to increase the affordability of insulin—including an official statement from the American Diabetes Association (ADA) applauding the move, as well as a tweet from President Biden. 


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