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Public Health & Cancer Awareness

Each month, the UVM Cancer Center shares messages related to a cancer-specific health observance.


Lung Cancer Public Health Campaign. The UVM Cancer Center teamed up with Dartmouth Cancer Center and Vermonters Taking Action Against Cancer to encourage more Vermonters to get screened for lung cancer. When detected early, local tumors can be removed which increases the patient's survival rate from 24% to 60%.

Learn more about:

  • Guidelines
  • Screening locations in Vermont
  • Eligibility requirements


Lung Cancer Research. Learn more about the Cunniff lab's promising new therapy for mesothelioma and metastatic cancer, which is currently a Phase I clinical trial. 

Clinical Trials: See what clinical trials are being offered related to lung cancer.



Experts believe that up to 50% of cancers can be prevented. That’s because certain daily habits can make us more likely to get cancer. Changing these habits may help prevent cancer.

5 lifestyle changes that may reduce your cancer risk:

  • Quit smoking ( is Vermont's tobacco cessation resource. ). 
  • Make healthy food choices.
  • Get regular checkups & screenings.
  • Stay active.
  • Protect your skin with sun safe behaviors.




March is colorectal cancer awareness month. With regular screening, almost all colorectal cancer can be prevented. If you are 45 or older, please talk to your doctor about screening options. 





Did you know that Vermont has the second highest incident rate of melanoma in the U.S.?
May is skin cancer awareness month and by limiting sun exposure you can reduce your skin cancer risk.
Three Prevention Tips:

  1. Cover up. Wear wide-brimmed hats, sun-protective clothing and sunglasses.
  2. Stay indoors between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. or seek shade.
  3. Wear sunscreen, with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher.

Early detection promotes successful treatment, talk to your doctor about your screening options. 

Summer Safety Tips: Find some simple health and safety tips for summertime activities.

Something New Under The Sun: Learn about the signs of melanoma.

9 Things I'd Never Do As A Dermatologist: Summer's coming. How many of these ski 'don'ts' do you do?



Prostate cancer is the second most common type of cancer. UVM Cancer Center clinical member, Shahid Ahmed, MD, MBBS, a medical oncologist specializes in cancers of the urinary system and the reproductive organs in men and provides an overview of diagnosis and tips to manage treatment side effects in this Healthsource article. 




25th Annual Women's Health and Cancer Conference: View recordings of presentations and panels about surgical options, survivorship, integrative care, palliative care, and breakthrough advances in the research.

Breast Cancer Portfolio: Learn more about the UVM Cancer Center's research, education, community outreach, and clinical care related to breast cancer.

Clinical Trials: See what clinical trials are being offered related to breast cancer.

Genetic Testing for Cancer and Risk Assessment: Learn about the team of clinicians who provide genetic screening and risk assessment.

Screening Guidelines: The American Cancer Society recommends these screening guidelines. 

Breast Cancer Screening: Reach out to your primary care provider or the Breast Care Center if you are due for a screening.

Support Services: There are many resources for patients in treatment or patients who have completed their treatment, including support groups and the popular Steps to Wellness class. 

Covering Pain: Integrative Treatment Accessible to More Vermonters

November 8, 2023 by Janet Essman Franz

A new collaboration between Vermont Medicaid and UVM Medical Center’s Comprehensive Pain Program allows Medicaid members with chronic pain to participate in complementary therapies including health coaching, massage, yoga, nutrition, acupuncture, and meditation. This pilot is an important step toward eliminating disparities in access to effective, integrative care for pain.

Erin Bingham, N.P., guides Comprehensive Pain Program participants in yoga, meditation, and acupressure to relieve pain and improve function. (Photo: David Seaver)

In an important national first—one that can serve as a model for other states—Vermont Medicaid entered into a pilot program to provide its members with the ability to participate in integrative, holistic treatment for chronic pain. The Comprehensive Pain Program, a clinical arm of the Osher Center for Integrative Health at the University of Vermont, will serve up to 100 Medicaid members suffering from chronic pain through a program called Partners Aligned in Transformative Healing (PATH).

This initiative is an important step forward in eliminating disparities in access to effective, integrative care for chronic pain.

Cohorts of 10–12 participants, referred by their physicians, can access a range of integrative therapies including reiki, massage, culinary medicine, acupuncture, mindfulness meditation, and yoga, that are not traditionally covered by health insurance or Medicaid. In addition, participants engage in psychologically informed physical therapy, health coaching, nutrition, and occupational therapy.

Launched in 2019, PATH is a 16-week outpatient program that approaches chronic pain from a “whole person” perspective, melding conventional medical treatment with complementary therapies.  The program has demonstrated success in improving participants’ level of comfort and their ability to engage in activities that are meaningful in optimizing their quality of life. By treating chronic pain holistically, PATH participants gain a variety of skills and techniques to manage symptoms, increase comfort, and improve function. 

“The most common approaches to treat chronic pain are pills, injections, and surgeries. The Comprehensive Pain Program rose out of our awareness that our approach to working with the folks who have chronic pain was not necessarily effective in improving quality of life,” said Jon Porter, M.D., assistant professor of family medicine and medical director of the Comprehensive Pain Program, and director of UVM’s Osher Center for Integrative Health. “Our goal in the program is to widen the therapeutic horizon and give these individuals the tools they need to frame the experience of chronic pain, including therapies that can address their level of comfort, and engage in the things that are important to them.”

This Medicaid pilot is modeled after one pioneered by UVM Medical Center and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont in 2019. Data from that program showed significant changes in key areas: Participants reported reduced pain, improved physical function, better sleep, and fewer visits to primary care and emergency care for pain relief.

“It’s been life-changing, ” said CPP participant John Killacky, who endured 27 years of debilitating chronic hip and leg pain before joining the program. “I do yoga, acupressure, acupuncture, reiki. To feel more whole, less broken, more filled with joy, is a very special gift.”

Access to this approach to care for Medicaid members is a first nationally. Medicaid was designed to provide a government-funded health insurance plan for income-eligible people and people who are categorically eligible due to their disabilities or socio-economic circumstances. Only a few comprehensive pain management programs incorporating integrative therapies currently exist in the United States, and their costs can easily put them out of reach for many people. Through this novel collaboration between the UVM Medical Center and the Department of Vermont Health Access (DVHA), which administers the Vermont Medicaid program, Medicaid members will have access to the full program of integrative pain therapies for one fixed price covered by insurance, rather than billing separately for each visit and service type. 

Bringing the Comprehensive Pain Program’s whole-person, transprofessional, multidisciplinary approach to Medicaid members, who often experience barriers to care and fragmented care, is a huge step forward in health equity, says Porter.  “A crucial component of the Osher Center's mission is working to eliminate disparities in access to care.  Our agreement with DVHA is a tremendously important step forward in this direction,” he said.

Learn more about the Osher Center for Integrative Health at the University of Vermont.
Learn more about the Comprehensive Pain Program at UVM Medical Center.

A collage of three photos showing fresh herbs, acupuncture needles being applied to a person's skin, and a person taking  nutritious food from a serving tray
Herbal treatments, acupuncture, and nutritious food can increase comfort and improve quality of life for people with chronic pain. (Photos: David Seaver)