Hunterdon-Mercer Chronic Disease Coalition

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Aligned with the State’s Health Improvement Plan, Healthy New Jersey 2030, which aims to improve health for all people, the goal of the Chronic Disease Coalition is to address the state’s cancer burden and work toward improving health outcomes for people with or at risk for cancer and other chronic diseases.  State-wide coalitions are supported by the New Jersey Department of Health Office of Cancer Control and Prevention to coordinate comprehensive cancer control efforts in New Jersey and contribute to the national efforts of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

Promote cancer prevention, support early detection efforts, address the needs of cancer survivors, and promote health equity and quality of life.

Deploy evidence-based strategies through a collaborative and coordinated approach to education and outreach initiatives.

Long Term Outcome:
Improved health outcomes for residents of Hunterdon and Mercer counties.

Prevention Saves Lives

Cancer is the second leading cause of death in New Jersey and the United States.  While not all cancers are preventable, many of the known risk factors can be decreased or eliminated through healthy lifestyle practices, getting appropriate vaccinations, and other policy-driven and systematic changes. According to the American Cancer Society, an estimated 42% of cancer cases and 45% of cancer deaths in the US are attributed to potentially modifiable risk factors. (Cancer Prevention & Early Detection, Facts & Figures 1029-2020). Evidence-based interventions can decrease risk factors and increase awareness to achieve improved health outcomes. 

The following highlights methods considered standard practice to reduce the risk of cancer and improve general health:

  • Stop smoking.  Smoking is linked to several types of cancer — not just lung cancer. Quitting will reduce the risk of cancer in the future.
  • Avoid excessive sun exposure. Harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun can increase the risk of skin cancer. Limit sun exposure by staying in the shade, wearing protective clothing, or applying sunscreen.
  • Eat a healthy diet. Choose a diet rich in fruits and vegetables. Select whole grains and lean proteins.
  • Exercise most days of the week. Regular exercise is linked to a lower risk of cancer. At least 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week is recommended.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight or obese may increase the risk of cancer. Work to achieve and maintain a healthy weight through a combination of a healthy diet and regular exercise.
  • Schedule cancer screening exams. Talk with a healthcare provider about what types of cancer screening exams that are best based on risk factors.
  • Ask your provider about immunizations against diseases that increase your risk of cancer.  Immunizations can help prevent hepatitis B, which increases the risk of liver cancer, and human papillomavirus (HPV), which increases the risk of cervical and other cancers.

 The Office of Cancer Control and Prevention (OCCP) coordinates comprehensive cancer control efforts in New Jersey and participates in the national efforts of the CDC to establish state-based comprehensive cancer control plans, conduct prevention of cancer risk factors, enhance early detection of preventable cancers, and facilitate survivorship through the activities of its Chronic Disease Coalitions.  


Additional Staff & Specialists

Bonnie J. Petrauskas, MBA

Bonnie J. Petrauskas, MBA

Regional Coordinator, Hunterdon-Mercer Chronic Disease Coalition
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