CHC/SEK Collaborating with University of Kansas Cancer Center to ImproveAccess to Cancer Screenings
Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas will partner with NCI certified University of Kansas’ Cancer Center to provide breast, cervical, and colorectal cancer screenings and early detection services to underserved populations.
PITTSBURG, Kan. – Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas Inc. (CHC/SEK) in Pittsburg, Kan., has been selected among 11 health centers nationwide to partner with National Cancer Institute (NCI) designated cancer centers.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has awarded a $500,000 grant to CHC/SEK to work with the University of Kansas Cancer Center to close cancer screening gaps in underserved populations. In a first-of-its-kind partnership, the project, known as Accelerated Screening (AxCS) seeks to decrease the impact of preventable cancers
and support patients and caregivers.
The University of Kansas Cancer Center is a National Cancer Institute (NCI) designated comprehensive cancer center, one of only 53 in the United States. NCI designation is the highest honor bestowed by the NCI.
“Tools to fight and prevent cancer should be in reach for everyone, but, too often, that’s not the case,” said HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra. “With this move, health centers can work to close disparity gaps, delivering critical services to underserved communities in need.”
CHC/SEK CEO Krista Postai said the grant and collaboration with the University of Kansas Cancer Center will offer many opportunities to fill gaps and address unmet needs among the southeast Kansas population where cancer screenings have historically fallen behind other parts of the state, even before many people stopped seeking medical services during the pandemic.
The Accelerated Screening (AxCS) grant will expand CHC/SEK’s staff and diagnostic capabilities, which now include 3-D mammography, ultrasound, and CT scanners in two locations to additional sites, providing colonoscopies (at low-cost) through existing staff and potentially contracted staff.
“Health education and making it easier to participate in cancer screenings by addressing barriers of cost, transportation, and cultural hindrances such as language are key focal points in this initiative,” Postai said.
“We will be working to educate the general population, as well as those at the highest risk, of the importance of screening and encourage them to participate. Our clinics will offer flexible screening times, including weekends and evenings, to accommodate work/school schedules; and work with employers on supporting screening in the workplace,” she said.
Bringing health centers together with National Cancer Institute-Designated Cancer Centers advances President Biden’s Cancer Moonshot goals to decrease the death rate from cancer by at least 50 percent over the next 25 years and improve the experience of people and their families living with and surviving cancer.
Cancer is the second-leading cause of death in the United States, with nearly 600,000 deaths annually. These cancers can be prevented or detected early through screenings and timely follow-up care. Significant disparities exist in screening and follow-up care after an abnormal cancer screening result based on an individual’s income, insurance status, and race or ethnicity.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently announced the grant through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), who awarded more than $5 million to 11 HRSA-funded community health centers.