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DHSS Press Release

Josette Manning, Secretary
DPH Media Relations Coordinator Contact:
Laura Matusheski
For more information, contact Nancy D'Argenio,
or 302-530-6719.

Date: April 10, 2023


DOVER, Del. (April 10, 2024) - On April 9, 150 Delaware Cancer Consortium (DCC) members gathered for their 2024 retreat for presentations by prominent local and national speakers, including four cancer survivors who shared their diagnosis, care, and experience living with cancer.

The theme was Vision. Purpose. Action. Coming Together to Eliminate Cancer Disparities, aligning with DCC's goal to implement culturally inclusive initiatives that ensure affordable and accessible care.

The Delaware General Assembly established the DCC in 2001 to reduce Delaware's cancer incidence and mortality rates. Over the past 23 years, the DCC has produced five five-year plans with innovative cancer control recommendations that guide its members and thousands of dedicated volunteers.

"Every year, this event renews our passion to give Delawareans the resources they need to lead healthy lives," said Governor John Carney. "Since the mid-to-late 1990s, Delaware's cancer mortality rate has decreased substantially. We still have work to do, but thanks to the dedication of our health care workers and the Delaware Division of Public Health, we are on the right track."

In the 1990s, Delaware's cancer death rate ranked second in the nation. Most recent data show the state ranks 15th in cancer mortality and 20th for cancer incidence rate (457.6 per 100,000 in Delaware compared to 442.2 per 100,000 population in the nation), according to the Delaware Cancer Registry for the period 2016-2020.

Since the creation of the Delaware Cancer Treatment Program in 2004, funding for cancer treatments has been provided to 2,009 Delaware residents as of March 30, 2024.

Governor Carney and Lieutenant Governor Bethany Hall-Long signed two proclamations that designate the month of April as Cancer Control Month and Minority Cancer Awareness Month.

The Cancer Control Month designation urges all Delawareans to get screened for cancer when advised to do so and encourages all health care providers to promote cancer screening "as a powerful opportunity to save lives." Regular screenings increase the odds of detecting cancer in the early stages, when it is most treatable. It remains a top priority for the DCC to ensure Delawareans have access to regular screenings and know the recommended guidelines.

According to the Delaware Cancer Registry for the period 2016-2020, 22.4% of new cancer cases in Delaware were detected in the distant stage, compared to 48.3% diagnosed at the local, or early, stage.

"I'm just going to be candid: knowing your cancer risk - as early as possible - can literally be the difference between life and death," said Lieutenant Governor Hall-Long, who serves on two DCC committees. "The DCC is working tirelessly to raise awareness and increase accessibility to detect and treat cancer for all Delawareans. We have work to do, but I commend these continued efforts."

The DCC and the Division of Public Health's Bureau of Cancer Prevention and Control work to ensure every Delawarean has access to timely cancer screenings and treatment through the Screening for Life (SFL) Program and the Delaware Cancer Treatment Program. Cancer screenings are covered by insurance or SFL. Delawareans can determine their eligibility for SFL by visiting Healthy or calling the SFL Program at 302-744-1040.

In a nod to pursing full health equity, the Minority Cancer Awareness Month observance notes that cancer disproportionately affects Delaware's minority communities and urges them to get cancer screenings when advised to do so.

According to the Delaware Cancer Registry, for the period 2016-2020, the all-site cancer mortality rate among non-Hispanic Black Delawareans (171.7 people per 100,000 population) was higher than for non-Hispanic White Delawareans (158.9 people per 100,000 population).

In the 2020 Behavioral Risk Factor Survey, 36% of non-Hispanic White Delawareans reported having a PSA test to detect prostate cancer in the past two years compared to 26% of non-Hispanic Black Delawareans. For 2016-2020, 28.3% of new breast cancer cases were detected in the distant stage among non-Hispanic White Delawareans, compared to 36.7% diagnosed at the distant stage among non-Hispanic Black Delawareans, according to the Delaware Cancer Registry.

Elle Sheaffer, a five-year cancer survivor of Newark and distinguished speaker at the retreat, is now a DBCC volunteer and leads a flower-arranging course for Cancer Support Community.

"A lot of people are scared to get help and think they must do it alone, but these resources are here, and they are still helping me thrive," said Sheaffer.

For more information on the DCC's initiatives, committees, upcoming events, and the current five-year plan, visit

Cancer Consortium

Lt.Governor Hall-Long with Community Health Workers

Anyone who is deaf, hard of hearing, Deaf-Blind or speech disabled can contact DPH by dialing 711 first using specialized devices (i.e. TTY, TeleBraille, voice devices). The 711 service is free and to learn more about how it works, please visit

DPH, a division of DHSS, urges Delawareans to make healthier choices with the 5-2-1 Almost None campaign: eat 5 or more fruits and vegetables each day, have no more than 2 hours of recreational screen time each day (includes TV, computer, gaming), get 1 or more hours of physical activity each day, and drink almost no sugary beverages.

Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware's citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.