The Medical Center Cancer Committee selected Lung Cancer as the primary 2014 community outreach prevention program. Smoking remains the number one largest cause of preventable disease and death in the United States. The CDC ranks Kentucky the highest in the U.S. for the occurrence of adult smokers and out of 36 states surveyed for youth age smokers, Kentucky ranks number 36.
A Community Health Needs Assessment conducted in 2012 by The Medical Center and the Barren River Community Health Planning Council identified lung cancer as a priority health issue. There is much that can be accomplished in the area of smoking cessation and early education to reduce the number of smokers. Based on the new Surgeon General’s report, evidence-based tobacco control programs that include smoking cessation programs, promoting cessation programs in clinical settings and smoke-free policies are underutilized.
The committee chose several plans of action. The Medical Center hosted Cooper Clayton Smoking Cessation classes at the Health & Wellness Center as well as classes for CHC employees at The Medical Center in Bowling Green, Scottsville and Franklin. Ten classes were offered in 2014 in the Barren River District area.
Educational materials on lung cancer prevention and screening with focus on smoking cessation were offered at worksites and community health fairs and “Plan to be Tobacco Free” and Great American Smokeout toolkits were sent to 72 worksites in the surrounding counties to promote smoking cessation options for employer groups and their employees.
A letter was sent to seven Primary Care facilities and to sixteen OB/GYN offices that provided smoking cessation information to physicians as a resource for their patients to quit smoking.
Commonwealth Health Corporation, parent company of The Medical Center, encouraged employees to quit smoking through increased support and benefit advantages. Tobacco testing was implemented in March for those who participate in medical benefits. Those who chose to smoke paid a higher monthly insurance payment by $25/pay period. Smoking Cessation classes were offered directly to employees and individual counseling was offered through the Barren River District Health Department. If an employee participated and completed one of these programs, their monthly insurance payment was lowered.
Other Cancer Prevention Accomplishments in 2014
In 2014, The Medical Center Health & Wellness Center offered 127 opportunities and potentially reached 15,786 people through cancer prevention related activities such as exercise and nutrition events and counseling, support group, speaking engagements and community health fairs. Three articles were published in WellNews, a newsletter that circulates to over 50,000 homes in the surrounding area, and two Wellness Boards displayed in over 40 industries in the area were on cancer prevention.
Each year, the cancer committee assesses potential barriers that can affect patients going through cancer treatment. Two highlights of this assessment were increasing the cancer support group participation and the acquisition of Tomorrow’s Woman, a specialty shop for mastectomy supplies and other products for cancer patients. A survey was implemented to those having treatment at the Cancer Center to assess their need for additional support and Tomorrow’s Woman was acquired to expand its medical supply service and enhance its services for cancer patients. The committee also worked toward implementing a Patient Navigator for 2015 that is housed at the Cancer Center.