By Andrea Uhde Shepherd, Executive Director
Take a second to soak this in:
In Kentucky, where we are based, more than half the 120 counties are in colon cancer hotspots.
That’s the worst of the worst.
I may have blushed when this map came up on the screen at the National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable meeting today.
I’m at the NCCRT conference this week to represent our region and share about our successes. Yes, we have our work cut out for us.
But consider this: Our state increased its colon cancer screening rates more than almost any other state in recent years. Ky. Gov. Steve Beshear is only the second governor to sign a declaration to support increasing screening rates even more (to 80% by the year 2018). And our incidence and mortality rates have declined more than 25% since we began our efforts.
Today, I was able to present about how our work as a non-profit enabled Kentucky to move forward faster than many other states that don’t have non-profits with the ability to lobby and raise funds for programs. That work as a catalyst has paved the way for Kentucky to have a colon cancer screening program (sans federal funding), comprehensive policies that cover screening colonoscopies, long-term work in Community Health Centers, and much more.
Change is happening, friends! We couldn’t be more proud. But much work is ahead.
Will you join us?