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Kentucky Goes on the Offensive Against Colorectal Cancer
Date:7/1/2011

le, if you go in and get screened you can remove that polyp before it becomes cancerous," Albright said. "It just seems unthinkable that people would be dying from this disease. We don't want to see people losing loved ones and people suffering when they could undergo this simple procedure."

A stigma associated with discussion of colon cancer is part of the problem, she said.

"People don't want to talk about that part of their body," Albright said. "Our challenge is to break down that barrier, so people can understand it's OK to talk about this type of cancer."

In that regard, the project takes a lot of cues from the breast cancer awareness movement.

"Twenty years ago, they were facing the same situation. People didn't want to be rude and talk about that part of the female body," Albright said.

"Persistence is really the biggest lesson," she said. "Just because something doesn't happen overnight, you need to stick to it and continue reaching out to people."

The Colon Cancer Prevention Project will host its sixth walk/run event in August. The project also will honor its annual tradition of airing a documentary about colon cancer on public television in Kentucky.

But much of the heavy lifting goes on at the state capitol, with advocates trying to secure funding and political support for their goal.

Lobbying has paid off, to a certain extent. In 2008, the state legislature voted to create a program to extend colon cancer screening to uninsured Kentuckians. However, the state has not funded the program.

"We've been working for a long time on this, and we continue to plug away," Albright said. "There's not a lot of money to go around, and a lot of worthy programs."

But she said she's certain that before too long their success in increasing colon cancer screenings will result in a decline in deaths.

"We've done a tremendous amount with very little funding, and the pace is actually quite fast," she said. "W
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