Brad Martin directs the Mississippi Comprehensive Cancer Control Program that is part of the Mississippi State Department of Health/Office of Preventive Health and Health Equity.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in exercise science and a master’s degree in health promotion from the University of Mississippi and is certified health education specialist by the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing.
Before becoming director of the Mississippi Comprehensive Cancer Control Program, he was the director of the State Employee Wellness Program in the Mississippi State Department of Health/Office of Preventive Health and Health Equity. Martin served as an American Cancer Society 2020 Real Men Wear Pink of Central Mississippi ambassador to help raise breast cancer research/awareness funds and as a 2021 Wish Hero for Make-A-Wish Mississippi to raise funds for Mississippi children with a critical illness.
When was the Mississippi Comprehensive Cancer Control Program at the Mississippi State Department of Health founded?
“The Mississippi Comprehensive Cancer Control Program was established in 2002 when the Mississippi State Department of Health received funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Continued funding has enabled the health department to strengthen comprehensive cancer control efforts in the state.
“In 2005 the Mississippi Comprehensive Cancer Control Consortia created the Mississippi Partnership for Comprehensive Cancer Control to serve as the coordinating body for the implementation of goals and objectives in the Mississippi Comprehensive Cancer Control Plan. Each plan covers a five-year span setting forth details of cancer control activities and partnerships.
“The mission of the Mississippi Partnership for Comprehensive Cancer Control is to reduce the human suffering and economic burden from cancer for Mississippi citizens by developing, implementing and evaluating a comprehensive cancer prevention and control plan.”
How common is cancer in Mississippi?
“Cancer is the second leading cause of death in Mississippi, accounting for about one in every five deaths. On average, each year, about 16,000 new cases are reported and 6,500 people die of cancer in Mississippi.
“Pertinent to all cancers, Mississippi has the highest mortality rate in the U.S. Mississippi ranks eighth overall nationally pertinent to the incidence of all cancers.”
Who is eligible to participate in the Survivorship Program that is part of the Comprehensive Cancer Control Program?
“It’s open to Mississippians 18 or older who have finished primary cancer treatment or need continuing long-term maintenance therapy. Participants must live in Mississippi and read or speak English. It is not for individuals newly diagnosed with cancer.”
What does it cost to participate in the Survivorship Program?
“It’s free. The funding from the CDC allows us to provide it for free.”
How is the Survivorship Program structured?
“It’s a 12-week program that focuses on life and health beyond treatment. Each participant is paired with a health coach for one-on-one support. It is personal health coaching by phone, text message or email and it works with an individual’s schedule. Over the duration of the program, members learn practical methods to improve their health behaviors and develop long-term strategies to lead to a healthier life. What is neat is the individual attention that is provided.
“The health coaching program is through Pack Health, which has worked with the American Cancer Society on some of its efforts. It’s been a labor of love to get the program implemented.”
What are some of the topics that a health coach will cover?
“The program prioritizes topics that are most important to the cancer survivor such as physical, financial emotional or social needs.”
How many people can enroll in the Survivorship Program?
“We have a minimum of 100 slots and still have several to fill. We are hoping more people will learn about it and enroll. We have disseminated news about it to the Mississippi Partnership for Comprehensive Cancer Control member networks, patient navigators at large healthcare systems and a variety of other people. We have also requested the Mississippi Municipal League disseminate information about it. We’ve used different modalities and social media to get the word out across the state.”
How does someone sign up for the Survivorship Program?
“For more information or to enroll in the Survivorship Program, visit packhealth.com/mcccp or call 855-375-5715.”
What do you hope the Survivorship Program achieves?
“My hope is that Mississippians access the program and have a healthier life and it helps them in some form or fashion improve their lives. I am passionate about the people in this state and I care about people. I want to help somebody every day.”
How can cancer be prevented?
“Stay physically active to maintain fitness and prevent obesity. Extra weight can increase your risk of colon and breast cancers. Keeping to a healthy weight means keeping cancer away.
“Eat a diet high in vegetables and fruit. A diet low in red meat and high in vegetables and fruit reduces the risk of a broad range of cancers. Colored fruits and vegetables, and cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower, may be especially helpful.
“Do not smoke. If you do smoke or chew tobacco, stop.
“Get screened for cancer regularly. Screening can be simple and effective for detecting common cancers early.”