Reducing the Burden of Cancer in Central Pennsylvania

One of the key goals of Penn State Cancer Institute is to reduce the burden that cancer places on our communities, especially among particularly vulnerable or susceptible groups.

Through its Office for Cancer health Equity (OCHE), the Cancer Institute provides a number of services, educational opportunities and consultations to help meet this goal across its 28-county catchment area.

The Penn State Cancer Institute 28-county catchment area is depicted on a map of the state of Pennsylvania. All 67 of Pennsylvania's counties are outlined. The five clinically competitive counties - Dauphin, Lebanon, Berks, Lancaster and Cumberland - are toward the southcentral/southeastern part of the state and are marked in one color. Another 10 counties surrounding them to the south, west and north are considered the referral area and are marked in another color. Finally, an additional 13 counties that comprise the rest of the catchment area, mostly to the north of the clinically competitive and referral counties, are added and the whole 28-county area is outlined in a heavy rule. The rest of the counties are uncolored and un-outlined.

About Our Catchment Area

Penn State Cancer Institute's 28-county catchment area comprises 4 million people. Demographics of that group include:

  • 85 percent non-Hispanic white
  • 5 percent African-American
    • Harrisburg is a majority-minority (52 percent) African-American city, 52 percent
  • 8 percent Hispanic/Latino
    • Reading is a majority-minority (58 percent) Hispanic/Latino city
  • 19 percent older than 65
  • 42 percent rural
  • 19 of 28 counties are Appalachian

Priority populations for Penn State Cancer Institute are those in rural, Hispanic/Latino and African-American communities.

Penn State Cancer Institute, in collaboration with Penn State’s Social Science Research Institute and Population Research Institute, produces detailed data and maps on the population, health care systems and cancer within the PSCI catchment area and Pennsylvania.

Cancer Navigation and Survivorship Network (CaNSuN)

Patient navigation is when someone - a patient navigator - guides patients at risk for or suspected to have cancer around barriers in the cancer-care system to help ensure timely diagnosis and treatment.

The Cancer Navigation and Survivorship Network (CaNSuN) is a network for these patient navigators in Pennsylvania.

Explore CaNSuN

Community Health Workers

To address cancer disparities in the city of Harrisburg, the Community Sciences and Health Outcomes Core began a Community Health Worker program in 2011.

The program identifies and equips community health workers, who assist their peers in both getting cancer screenings and increasing cancer-preventing behaviors.

Explore Community Health Workers program

Northern Appalachia Cancer Network (NACN)

The Northern Appalachia Cancer Network is a community and academic partnership that seeks to measurably reduce the cancer burden among rural residents of Pennsylvania and New York.

The network provides community-based participatory education, training and engaged cancer research in order to improve access to care in this area.

Explore NACN