A consortium of local health departments has received a grant for expanded colon cancer screenings to low-income and uninsured residents.
FIVCO Colon Cancer Screening Program partners include the Greenup County Health Department, the Little Sandy District Health Department, the Ashland-Boyd County Health Department, the Lawrence County Health Department, Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital, Three Rivers Medical Center, Bellefonte Physician Services and the Kentucky Cancer Program.
The grant is part of a $500,000 statewide allotment during the next two years for expanded colon cancer screenings, including preventive health exams such as fecal immunochemical tests and colonoscopies. The goal is to improve Kentucky’s cancer survival rates, particularly among underserved populations, according to officials.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported the five-year survival rate for colon cancer is 90 percent when found and treated early. Each year in Kentucky, nearly 900 die from colon cancer and 2,600 new cases are reported, according to data from the Kentucky Cancer Registry at the University of Kentucky.
“Everybody in Greenup County has a connection to someone diagnosed with cancer,” said Chris Crum, director of the Greenup County Health Department. “One of our goals at the health department is to ensure that we take advantage of every opportunity available to reduce that diagnosis through screenings and early detection.”
“It is vitally important that you get tested,” said Paul Hunt, the health department’s public information officer. “You can’t fight something that you don’t know is there. Don’t be afraid. There is a 90 percent survival rate on that if they catch it early enough, so get tested.”
Appointments for screenings can be made by contacting one of the above agencies. To qualify for free screenings, individuals must be between the ages of 50 and 64.
CARRIE STAMBAUGH can be reached at email@example.com or (606) 326-2653.