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What It Is

The Kentucky Colon Cancer Prevention Program works to reduce new cases of colon cancer and associated disability and death in partnership with state, regional and local health professionals. The program receives federal funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to administer Organized Approaches to Increase Colorectal Cancer Screening programs. The program also receives restricted state funding to implement the Kentucky Colon Cancer Screening Program.

General Information

Colon cancer starts in the colon and also is referred to as colorectal cancer as it often occurs along with rectal cancer.

Is Colon Cancer Preventable?

Regular colon cancer screenings beginning at age 50 are the most effective way to reduce your risk of colon cancer. In some cases, colon cancer can be stopped before it starts.

Colon cancers almost always develop from abnormal growths known as polyps in the colon or rectum. Screening tests find polyps so they can be removed before they change into cancer. Treatment works best and the chance for a full recovery is very high when colon cancer is found early.


Polyps

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

Risk Factors

The risk of developing colorectal cancer increases with age. Screening tests for colorectal cancer should begin at age 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

Symptoms

Colorectal cancer first develops with very few or no symptoms over a period of years. This is why screening and early detection are so important.
Symptoms, when they appear, 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 symptoms also 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 or no alcohol
  • 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 populations 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.

Upcoming Meeting Dates
The Kentucky Colon Cancer Screening Advisory Committee convenes at 1:30pm - 3:30pm at 275 East Main St., Health Services Building, Conference Suite B, unless otherwise noted.  The following meeting dates are scheduled:

June 20, 2019
July 18, 2019
August 15, 2019
September 19, 2019
October 17, 2019
November 21, 2019
December 19, 2019

Legislation

  • KRS 214.540-544 Colon Cancer Screening Program
  • KRS 304.17A-257 Coverage under health benefit plan for colorectal cancer examinations and laboratory tests. (Effective until January 1, 2020)
  • KRS 304.17A-257 Coverage under health benefit plan for colorectal cancer examinations and laboratory tests. (Effective January 1, 2020) 
  • KRS 214.540 Definitions for KRS 214.540 to 214.544 -- Establishment and limitation of Colon Cancer Screening Program.
  • KRS 214.542 Eligibility for Colon Cancer Screening Program -- Services provided -- Income-based fee schedule -- Funding -- Affordability -- Data collection -- Administrative regulations.
  • KRS 214.543 Kentucky Colon Cancer Screening Program fund.
  • KRS 214.544 Colon Cancer Screening Advisory Committee -- Membership -- Duties -- Annual report -- Colon cancer screening, education, and outreach programs.
  • 902 KAR 21:020 - Kentucky Colon Cancer Screening Program

Documentation