Beshear announces new offensive to combat cancer

Governor Steve Beshear today joined members of the newly formed Kentucky Cancer Foundation to announce a public-private collaboration aimed at tackling the state's continued problem with high rates of cancer. The foundation will help fund selected portions of the state's overall Kentucky Cancer Action Plan.

Kentucky is one of the worst states in the nation for cancer. Of all Kentucky cancer deaths, 54 percent are from lung, breast, cervical and colon cancers.

"Despite Kentucky's current budget constraints, my administration is recommending several critical investments designed to tackle generational problems that plague our state," Gov. Beshear said. "One of these investments is to provide colon cancer screenings for our uninsured Kentuckians."

The initial collaborative project would screen 4,000 uninsured Kentuckians for colon cancer.

Gov. Beshear placed $1 million in his current budget proposal that is before the Kentucky General Assembly for these screenings. The foundation would match his funding dollar-for-dollar, for a total of $2 million to be spent over the biennium by the Kentucky Colon Cancer Screening Program. The Governor said his partnership with the foundation is a perfect example of the type of effort needed to provide education and prevention programs to reduce cancer across the Commonwealth.

"Our most recent information shows more than 24,000 new cases of cancer in Kentucky each year and of those, more than 9,500 Kentuckians die from these cancers," Gov. Beshear said. "This is a real problem in our state that is affecting the lives of every family. As a cancer survivor, I know firsthand that screenings and an early diagnosis will help save our citizens from this horrible disease."

Kentucky is No. 1 for lung cancer incidence and mortality in the nation. The incidence rate is 49 percent higher than the national average, while the mortality rate is 47 percent higher than the rest of the nation.

Kentucky's incidence of colon cancer is the second highest in the nation and more than 20 percent higher than the national average. Kentucky also has the third-highest colon and rectal cancer death rate in the United States.

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