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$3.5M Grant To Fund Early Cancer Prevention

A $3.5M dollar grant from the CDC to the UK Rural Cancer Prevention center will help promote early detection of colorectal cancer in Appalachia.

The funds will be used over the next five years to develop, implement, and distribute a simple, at-home screening test called FIT.

"What we are offering people is a new way to collect a specimen [and look] for blood in their stool. This test is better in that it also looks for antibodies to abnormal cells in the colon, so you can detect polyps with this test as well," says Tom Collins, associate director of the Rural Cancer Center.

Sherry Payne with the RCPC and the American Cancer Society believes the FIT screening project will make a difference in the number of cancer deaths in the Appalachian region of Kentucky, where colorectal cancer deaths are higher than anywhere else in the state.

"There's a lot of barriers where people won't get colon cancer testing. The colonoscopy, of course, is very frightening. They just don't like talking about it. It's a dirty cancer. This test is going to be so easy. They don't have to do hardly anything for it," she says.

Payne was diagnosed with the disease when she was 44 and given two years to live. Now, 15 years later, she has dedicated her life to making sure others utilize every test possible to detect colorectal cancer early enough to save their lives.