Contact: Maria Ramirez
Cascade Health Alliance received $24,474 from the Knight Cancer Institute Community Partnership Program at Oregon Health and Science University to expand a pilot project to distribute colorectal cancer screening kits to Klamath County's Medicare and Medicaid population.
"The OHSU Knight Cancer Institute is an international leader in research and cancer treatment. It is a tremendous honor to have our colorectal cancer screening project selected as a part of their Community Partnership Program," said Amanda Blodgett, CHA's Quality Management Director.
Blodgett and her staff are working out the finer details of this program, which includes promotion of the importance of screenings during Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month in March.
CHA's CEO Tayo Akins points out that according to the National Cancer Institute, colorectal cancer is the third most common type of non-skin cancer in men (after prostate cancer and lung cancer) and women (after breast cancer and lung cancer). It is the second leading cause of death in the United States after lung cancer, Akins noted.
"The rates of new colorectal cancer cases and deaths among adults aged 50 years or older are decreasing in this country due to an increase in screening and to changes in some risk factors, such as a decline in smoking," Akins said. "I am excited and honored that we were awarded this grant to focus on colorectal screening and awareness within our community. With our current colorectal cancer initiative, we believe this grant will go a long way to have a significant impact within the Klamath County community we serve."
This project is a reestablishment of a similar project through CHA in 2014, when screening kits were last distributed. That year, screening rates were higher compared to 2015, when the kits were not distributed.
FIT kits are easy and non-invasive in-home stool tests that detect trace amounts of blood, which can indicate that further colorectal cancer screening is necessary.
According to the Healthy Klamath website, the colorectal cancer death rate in Klamath County between 2009 and 2013 was 19.3 deaths per 100,000 people. This is significantly higher than the state-wide average of 14.6 deaths per 100,000 for the same time period. In Klamath County, there were 44.6 cases of colorectal cancer per 100,000 people between 2009 and 2013, compared to a rate of 37.1 per 100,000 in Oregon. Between 2010 and 2013, 60.6 percent of Klamath County survey respondents aged 50 to 75 reported having been screened for colorectal cancer.
This project will help to ensure people in Klamath County are healthy and being screened for cancer on a regular basis, Blodgett said.
"Working through the application process, we realized how hugely important and impactful this project could be," Blodgett said. "There was such a dramatic change in the screening rates between 2014 and 2015."
For that reason, CHA Quality Management and Case Management staff began working with the paramedical team at Oregon Mobile Healthcare to expand their home visiting partnership program to also include preventative care such as the delivery and pick-up of FIT kits. This grant will allow for the further expansion of the program, as well as community education about the importance of colorectal cancer screenings.
The OHSU Knight Cancer Institute Community Partnership Program is designed to build sustainable collaborations with Oregon communities by providing grants and other resources to foster development of community-identified cancer prevention, early detection, treatment and survivorship projects. The OHSU Knight Cancer Institute has made a decade-long commitment to invest in this program to develop robust, sustainable programs that benefit the health of all Oregonians. Additional information about the program is available on the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute's website.