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Health and Wellness Newsroom

Public-Private Partnership to Bring Colon Cancer Screenings to Low-Income Uninsured

Tuesday March 5, 2013

Mayor Greg Fischer and health officials announced a public-private partnership that will provide colon cancer screenings for approximately 1,200 low-income uninsured individuals over the next 16 months.

“Creating a healthier and more compassionate city are top priorities of my administration,” said Mayor Fischer. “Colon cancer is one of the most preventable causes of death. This new partnership will bring life-saving colon cancer screenings to people for whom they might otherwise not be available.”

The partnership - the Colon Cancer Screening Program - consists of the Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness, the Kentucky Cancer Program, the Park DuValle Community Health Center, Family Health Centers and the Colon Cancer Prevention Project.

Thirteen private physicians, already recruited by the Colon Cancer Prevention Project, have agreed to each donate at least one free colonoscopy per month. More physicians continue to volunteer for the program. These donated health screenings will be leveraged by screenings that will be paid for from $282,600.00 in funds committed by the Kentucky Department for Public Health.

Louisville’s Premier Surgery Center will donate the use of its facility on weekends for screenings. Louisville area hospitals also considering making their facilities available for the project.

Polymedco Inc. is donating 1,500 Fecal Immunochemical Test (FIT) kits and Braintree Laboratories is donating 500 colonoscopy prep kits.

The Park DuValle Community Health Center and Family Health Centers, Portland will serve as medical homes for patients in the program. Each medical home will provide a patient navigator who will coordinate and schedule screenings and assist patients through the process. The Colon Cancer Prevention Project will also facilitate patient navigation by assisting with such issues as transportation and chaperones to the screening facilities.

The Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness will oversee the initiative and act as the fiscal agent. Kentucky Cancer Program will provide community outreach to promote the program.

Eligibility criteria for the program include:

· Income must be 250% of the federal poverty level or below ($27,825.00 annually for an individual)

· Patient must be age 50 – 64 years. African Americans should begin screening at age 45. Other factors, such as family history, may also lower the screening age.

· Patient must be uninsured

· Patient must be a U.S. citizen, a legal resident alien and a resident of Kentucky.

“We are very grateful to these physicians for stepping forward to provide free screenings to some of our most vulnerable citizens,” said Louisville Public Health and Wellness Director, Dr. LaQuandra Nesbitt.

“We know that colon cancer is deadly,” said Dr. Nesbitt. “According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, of cancers affecting both men and women, colon cancer is the second leading cancer killer in the United States. “

“Yet few cancers are as easily preventable as colon cancer, said Dr. Nesbitt. “Removing precancerous growths – polyps - from the colon prevents the development of colon cancer.”

According to the National Institutes of Health, colon cancer is 90% curable if caught early stage. If everyone aged 50 years or older had regular screening tests, at least 60% of deaths from colon cancer could be avoided. Nationally in 2009, 136,717 people were diagnosed with colorectal cancer, and 51,848 people died from it.