The Kentucky Colon Cancer Prevention Program is a population-based public health initiative to reduce new cases of colon cancer, along with associated disability and death, with the involvement of state, regional and local health professionals. The program receives federal funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to administer the 1502 grant, "Organized Approaches to Increase Colorectal Cancer Screening" in health systems such as Federally Qualified Health Center's (FQHC). The program also receives restricted state funding to implement the Kentucky Colon Cancer Screening Program (KCCSP).
Colon cancer is a cancer that starts in the colon. It is also referred to as colorectal cancer sometimes because it also includes rectal cancer. The only main difference between colon and rectal cancer is where the cancer begins in the large intestines.
Is Colon Cancer Preventable?
In some cases, colon cancer can be stopped before it starts.
- Colon cancers almost always develop from precancerous polyps (abnormal growths) in the colon or rectum.
- Screening tests find polyps so they can be removed before they change into cancer.
- Screening tests find colon cancer early, when treatment works best and the chance for a full recovery is very high.
- The most effective way to reduce your risk of colon cancer is by having colon cancer screening tests beginning at age 50.
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Screening Fact Sheet for Patients
Screening Fact Sheet for Professionals
Polyps are growths on the inner wall of the colon or rectum. They are common in people older than 50. Most polyps are benign (not cancerous), but some polyps (adenomas) can become cancer. Finding and removing polyps may reduce the risk of colorectal cancer.
Picture of Polyps
Are you at high risk of developing colorectal cancer?
The risk of developing colorectal cancer increases with age. Screening tests for colorectal cancer should begin soon after turning 50 and continue at regular intervals or at the recommendation of your health care provider. However, you may need to be tested earlier or more often if your risk factors include:
- Inflammatory bowel disease, such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease
- Certain hereditary syndromes
- A personal or family history of colorectal polyps or colorectal cancer
Colorectal cancer first develops with very few, if any, symptoms over a period of years. This is why screening is important. However, symptoms may include:
- Blood in the bowel movement
- A change in bowel habits
- Stools that are narrower than usual
- General, unexplained stomach discomfort
- Frequent gas, pain or indigestion
- Unexplained weight loss
- Chronic fatigue
These can be related to other health issues. Make an appointment to see a doctor if you have any of these symptoms.
Healthy Choices and Lifestyle Factors
Recent studies indicate that certain lifestyle choices may increase your risk of colon cancer. Although screening is the best way to decrease your risk of colon cancer, you also can improve your overall health and decrease your risk if you:
- Eat more fruits and vegetables each day
- Eat less fatty foods such as lean meats (turkey, chicken, and fish)
- Drink less alcohol or none
- Don't smoke or chew tobacco
- Get regular physical exercise
Kentucky Colon Cancer Screening Program
The Kentucky Colon Cancer Screening Program was formed by passage of KRS 214.540-544 in 2008 to increase awareness of and education about screening for colorectal cancer. With future funding, screening programs will be developed for eligible Kentucky residents.
Kentucky Colon Cancer Screening Advisory Committee
Members represent key organizations and people affected by colon cancer in Kentucky. The function of the advisory committee is to provide oversight to the Kentucky Colon Cancer Screening Program and report annually to the Kentucky legislature.
Kentucky Colon Cancer Screening Advisory Committee Meetings Information
The next advisory committee meeting is scheduled for Thursday, October 11, 2018 at 1:30pm in room 125 of the Capitol Annex, 702 Capitol Avenue, Frankfort, KY, 40601.