OGDENSBURG Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center wants community support to help get a $5,000 state grant to promote cancer screenings.
Until April 30, the St. Lawrence County Cancer Services Program and Claxton-Hepburn are asking residents to log on to www.screeningsaves.org and vote for Save St. Lawrence County, Send the Prevent Cancer Super Colon. The program with the most votes wins a $5,000 grant and a visit from the Prevent Cancer Super Colon as part of the Prevent Cancer Foundations Colorectal Cancer Screening Saves Lives: 2012 National Challenge.
Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States and affects one in 19 people. St. Lawrence County is among the top three counties for colorectal cancer in New York state, said Catherine Field, a registered nurse and program coordinator for the county Cancer Services Program. This is not where we want to be.
The medical center hopes to reduce those odds by promoting screenings and improving access to care.
Ms. Field said the $5,000 grant will fund a health fair in Ogdensburg, in which organizations such as the St. Lawrence County Health Initiative, Community Health Advocates Program and Richard E. Winter Cancer Treatment Center will provide education on the importance of general cancer awareness, early screenings and insurance options.
According to Ms. Field, lack of access to health insurance is a major factor contributing to the number of colon cancer patients in the county.
High unemployment leads to a high uninsured rate, and those factors drive whether or not people seek preventative cancer. Without insurance, people are less likely to seek health care and preventative treatment, she said. However, very few uninsured people know there are options out there for them.
The center also hopes to win a chance to showcase the Prevent Cancer Super Colon. The inflatable 20-foot-long, 8-foot-high replica of a human colon is an interactive educational display on how to prevent, treat and beat colorectal cancer.