$1.2 Million in Grants Will Help More People get Screened for Colorectal Cancer

February 08, 2011

For Immediate Release

Contact: Leni Kirkman, Julie Wiley
Phone: 210-358-2335/Pager: 203-3300

Colorectal cancer is the fourth most commonly diagnosed cancer in Bexar County and the second leading cause of cancer death. The best defense is early detection and, thanks to two grants totaling $1,214.149 from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT), University Health System will have increased resources to educate and screen more people in Bexar County.

Screening is key to early diagnosis, and the earlier colorectal cancer can be detected, the better the chances for survival. According to CPRIT, Hispanics are more likely to be diagnosed with advanced stage colorectal cancer and the group most likely to die as a result of their late diagnosis is Hispanic men. The first award is for $914,149 and will be used to establish the University Health System Colorectal Cancer Screening Male Navigation Program. The second, for $300 thousand, will provide resources to increase colorectal cancer screening through a public awareness campaign and professional education training program.

University Health System’s goal for the Navigation Program grant is to increase the screening rate of men over the age of 50 who are enrolled in its CareLink program for qualifying uninsured residents. Currently, just 16 percent of these men have been screened for this deadly form of cancer. Through the new program, they hope to increase that to 56 percent in just one year.

University Health System plans to achieve this goal by making the screening process easier and more affordable, and by giving patients the emotional, social, and logistical support they need to complete the procedure. The program will include the following:

  • Open-access endoscopies
  • No specialist appointments
  • Personal (emotional and social) guidance through University Health System
  • One-on-one patient education
  • Assistance with transportation to and from screening appointments
  • Colonoscopy services by bilingual qualified specialists

Since colorectal cancer also affects large numbers of women, through the $300 thousand Health Behavior Change grant, University Health System hopes to increase the screening rate among all CareLink members over the age of 50, from the current 18 percent to 28 percent. The goal is to accomplish this target over the next year through an awareness and educational program targeted to reach both CareLink members and their primary care physicians.

More information about CPRIT is available at its website, www.cprit.state.tx.us.