Officials with the Kentucky Colon Cancer Screening Program (KCCSP) met with Pike County Health Department and Pikeville Medical Center officials today.
They discussed the importance of colon cancer screening in Kentucky. Many people from the community attended the presentation as well. House Bill 72, a proposal for state funding for KCCSP was discussed as well.
Officials say the Pike County Health Department is leading the sate in providing colon cancer screenings as part of their public health program. That is why members with the colon cancer prevention project decided to meet in Pikeville. They say colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in Kentucky, and we traditionally lead the nation in colon cancer deaths. The health department is partnering with the Pikeville Medical Center to try and turn things around.
Founder of the Colon Cancer Prevention Project, Dr. Whitney Jones, says the organization is trying to raise awareness about what he calls a silent killer.
"What we're looking to do is to increase screenings through the health department and also develop funding streams in Frankfort that will help support the great work that they are doing here," Jones says.
The Kentucky Colon Cancer Screening Program started after the 2008 legislative session. Now, they are asking for some help from the sate.
"House Bill 72 creates and funds the program to provide education and access to people for colon cancer screening," Jones says.
Pike County leads the state in providing screenings, and now the Pikeville Medical Center is on board.
Hospital officials say the program will help them better serve Eastern Kentucky and bring some much needed care to the mountains.
"We see that as an opportunity to get involved and get engaged because that's providing a service to our community and taking care of our patients," says Preston Lewis, with P.M.C. Surgical Services.
Lewis says this will be a good partnership between the hospital and health department. Officials say providing more access to screening will help Kentuckians prevent unnecessary deaths and medical expenses.
"This is extremely important because it is not only a life-saving program but it is a cost-saving program," Jones says.
He says while they wait for lawmakers' decisions, spreading the word about the importance of colon cancer screening will help raise awareness.
Pikeville Medical Center officials say even before a decision is made on House Bill 72, they are working to go ahead and schedule patients this month. Kentucky ranks 23rd in the nation for colon cancer screenings, which is up from 46th back in 200