LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 1, 2021) – CHI Saint Joseph Health recently awarded $100,000 to Kentucky CancerLink, a Lexington-based nonprofit that helps reduce barriers patients face for screenings, diagnoses and cancer treatments. This gift was the third part of a $300,000 commitment to support cancer screenings in Kentucky. Kentucky CancerLink will serve as the navigator for the funding to offer free colon cancer screening to eligible low-income and uninsured patients.
“We are proud to support this important initiative, which will help save lives in Kentucky,” said Tony Houston, CEO, CHI Saint Joseph Health. “At CHI Saint Joseph Health, we are called to serve the underserved patients in our community, and that is exactly what Kentucky CancerLink and the Kentucky Colon Cancer Screening and Prevention Program are doing. Colon cancer cases in Kentucky are 20 percent higher than the national average, which is why this program is crucial for Kentuckians and ensuring we can help spread access to community members who need it most.”
Kentucky CancerLink works with the Kentucky Colon Cancer Screening and Prevention Program to educate the public about the disease and make at-home testing and colonoscopies available at no cost to patients within the eligibility guidelines. This public-private partnership has resulted in one of the greatest public health success stories in the past decade.
“In 2001, Kentucky ranked 49th out of 50 in the U.S. for colon cancer screenings, and today, the state is ranked 22nd in the nation,” said Whitney Jones, MD, chair, Kentucky Colon Cancer Screening and Prevention Program Advisory Committee. “This statistic shows how important it is to provide these screenings at no cost to patients. We are making a real, visible difference in the state.”
This $100,000 gift will allow the Kentucky CancerLink to serve as a navigator for the underserved, providing education about early onset colon cancer, as well as at-home screening kits for low-risk individuals and no cost colonoscopies for those at higher risk.
“We are so thankful to CHI Saint Joseph Health for providing this generous funding to support our partnership,” said Melissa Karrer, executive director, Kentucky CancerLink. “These screenings are important to catch cancer early, when treatment is most successful. With this donation, we will be able to continue our goal of reducing Kentucky’s mortality rate from colon cancer.”
This commitment is part of a gift originally made to the Kentucky Cancer Foundation, which provides fundraising support for Kentucky CancerLink.
Colon cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer deaths in Kentucky, according to the American Cancer Society. In order to combat these odds, the American Cancer Society recommends beginning colon cancer screenings at age 45, unless a strong family history of the disease or other related risk factors are present.
Patients who need assistance with colon cancer screenings can contact the Kentucky CancerLink at 859.309.1700, or toll-free at 877.597.4655. To schedule a colon cancer screening appointment, patients can call 844.940 (HOPE).
About CHI Saint Joseph Health
CHI Saint Joseph Health, part of CommonSpirit Health, is one of the largest and most comprehensive health systems in the Commonwealth of Kentucky with 100 locations in 20 counties, including hospitals, physician groups, clinics, primary care centers, specialty institutes, home health agencies and an ambulatory Care Center. The hospitals in CHI Saint Joseph Health are Flaget Memorial Hospital, Saint Joseph Berea, Saint Joseph East, Saint Joseph Hospital, Saint Joseph Jessamine, Saint Joseph London, Saint Joseph Mount Sterling, and Women’s Hospital at Saint Joseph East. In total, the health system serves patients in 35 counties statewide. CHI Saint Joseph Health is dedicated to providing a wide array of services toward a goal of building a healthier future for all. CHI Saint Joseph Health embodies a strong mission and faith-based heritage and works through local partnerships to expand access to care in the communities it serves.