PCHC Receives Maine Cancer Foundation Grant Award to Improve Colorectal Cancer Screening Rates

Penobscot Community Health Care (PCHC) is pleased to announce a two-year grant award from the Maine Cancer Foundation in the amount of $100,000 to support efforts to improve colorectal cancer screening rates.

Colorectal cancer is Maine’s third leading cause of new cancer cases and cancer-related deaths.  Screening is vital to the prevention and successful treatment of this disease.  Unfortunately, many individuals do not obtain recommended screenings and diagnostic testing (such as the removal of polyps and ongoing surveillance testing) due to barriers like lack of transportation, someone to accompany them to appointments, fear, and lack of knowledge about available options.    With this grant, PCHC will be able to expand and enhance their current colorectal cancer prevention and screening intervention program with the addition of a Community Support Worker (CSW).  The CSW will work with patients in their own home environments to encourage all appropriate cancers screenings with a primary focus on colorectal cancer, assist with colonoscopy preparation and education, and provide transport to and from colonoscopy appointments.

Noah Nesin, MD, PCHC’s Chief Medical Officer, states, “Almost half of cancer deaths can be prevented by early detection through screening.  At PCHC, we believe community support workers can make a difference by connecting with people, increasing colorectal cancer screening rates and, in turn, saving lives.  We expect the community support worker will have a significant positive impact in reducing the incidence of colon cancer and this is especially important for people who lack access to care or resources like insurance.  The underinsured, uninsured, and people with low income should especially benefit from this initiative.”

Maine Cancer Foundation’s grant is offered as part of their ongoing Challenge Cancer 2020 initiative, aimed at reducing cancer incidence and mortality in Maine. They have awarded $9.5 million since 2015 in support of this initiative, focused on prevention, early detection and screening, and access to care for all Mainers. To learn more about Maine Cancer Foundation, visit www.mainecancer.org, or contact Katelyn Michaud,katelyn@mainecancer.org, 207.773.2533.