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MU School Of Medicine Receives Grant For Colorectal Cancer Screenings

MU’s School of Medicine has been awarded a $500,000 grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as part of a partnership to increase colorectal screening rates especially in rural parts of Missouri.

Colorectal cancer is one of the most common cancers in Missouri. Lung and bronchus cancer is the most common, according to the American Cancer Society.

The grant will run through June 2025 with yearly budgetary updates based on the work needing to be done. The CDC received funding from Congress to start the program in fiscal year 2010, according to the program’s history.

The School of Medicine is one of 35 award recipients, according to the CDC’s website.

Colorectal cancer — any cancer involving the colon or the rectum — is the second leading cancer killer in the U.S., according to the CDC. Screening can detect cancer early, when treatment works best or even find polyps, defined by Healthline.com as abnormal tissue growths. These can be small and are most commonly found in the colon. They can be removed before they turn into cancer and thus reduce the cancer’s prevalence and mortality, according to the CDC.

“Since most new colorectal cancers occur in those older than 50, it’s extremely important that adults between the ages of 50 and 75 be screened,” said Kevin Everett, co-principal investigator and associate professor of family and community medicine at MU, in the release.

MU will work with other organizations and institutions that are part of the Missouri Colorectal Cancer Roundtable, and the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, to increase screening rates for colorectal cancer in Missouri. The project will enroll community health clinics willing to:

  • Undergo a review of their colorectal screening processes.
  • Develop new protocols using evidence-based interventions (client reminders, provider reminders, reduction of structural barriers and provider assessment/feedback).
  • Be subject to data monitoring and site visits.

Jane McElroy, associate professor of family and community medicine, said the goal is to increase screening rates for colorectal cancer by at least 5% each year in participating clinics.
McElroy also said the grant will assist in increasing screenings where the rates are low, as in rural areas.

The grant will also help guarantee access to follow-up colonoscopies and assist underinsured and uninsured patients in finding financial resources, the release said.

Nationally, according to the CDC, only about 68% of adults are up to date with their colorectal cancer screening.

Sedalia-based Chris Stewart, Katy Trail Community Health CEO, said about one-third of their patients are uninsured, and the colorectal screening rate is under 40% for the targeted age group.

“This is a preventative measure we have struggled with for years,” Stewart said in the release. “This partnership will provide support and assistance to our clinicians to improve screening rates, while providing the resources to ensure our patients can get colonoscopies.”