OU-TU School of Community Medicine Receives Grant to Expand Colon Cancer Screening

Published: Wednesday, August 26, 2020

The OU-TU School of Community Medicine was recently named a recipient of grant funding from the Colon Cancer Coalition to promote a greater volume of colon cancer screening, specifically for patients seen at the OU Bedlam Clinic.

The grant will fund the purchase of 450 fecal immunochemical tests (FIT), which allow patients to collect samples at home and send to the lab for testing. Medical students will be part of the follow-up process in an effort to increase test completion rates.
Janelle Whitt, D.O., OU Bedlam Clinic medical director, leads the initiative, joined by Katie Hartness, clinic manager, and Sandra Dietz, MSN, FNP-C, APRN-CNP, advanced practice nurse practitioner.

“This is the first year OU-TU has applied for and received the coalition grant and we have great expectations for what we may be able to accomplish,” said Whitt. “It’s an important step for our community. We’re confident that screening will make a difference in health outcomes for this population.” Leaders hope success of the current initiative will pave the way for repeat funding next year.

“The ‘Get Your Rear in Gear – Tulsa’ planning committee is excited to see money raised in Tulsa supporting the OU-TU School of Medicine and the efforts to reach the underserved population at the OU Bedlam Clinic,” says Dr. Katherine Anderson, Naturopathic Medicine Provider at Cancer Treatment Centers of America in Tulsa and lead volunteer for Get Your Rear in Gear – Tulsa. “Screening for colorectal cancer can save lives by finding cancer early when it is most treatable. We know this grant will have real impact the lives of those served at the OU Bedlam Clinic, as well as imparting the importance of colorectal cancer screening and preventative care to the medical students treating patients there.”

Colon cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer in the United States, and the second leading cause of cancer death. The survival rate for colon cancer is 90% when it is detected in early, localized stages. However, most cases (60%) are discovered late. The five-year survival rate for a stage III diagnosis is 71%, and drops dramatically at stage IV to only 14%.

Colon Cancer Coalition is a national organization dedicated to the research, treatment and prevention of colon cancer. Its signature fundraising event, Get Your Rear in Gear, is part of an event series that has raised more than $1 million to fund local community programs for increased screening and education about the disease, its signs, symptoms, treatment and more.

The Tulsa event, previously scheduled in March, has been postponed indefinitely in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. A virtual Get Your Rear in Gear – Tulsa is scheduled for August 29.

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