Local News Politics

by Dan Conti, Kentucky Public Radio

A Louisville physician told state lawmakers today that Kentucky could lose its fight with colon cancer.

Dr. Whitney Jones is the founder of the Kentucky Colon Cancer Prevention Project. He testified in Frankfort before the interim joint committee on health and welfare.

“Colon cancer is the number one cause of cancer death in non-smokers in the United States and in Kentucky,” he said. “Each year 150,000 Americans are diagnosed with this disease and almost 50,000 Americans die from this disease.”

Jones says, at any one time, more than 10,000 Kentuckians are fighting colon cancer.

“In fact it’s a disturbing statistic, but each year more people in Kentucky die from colon cancer than from breast cancer, cervical cancer, HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis combined,” he said.

Jones added that 90 percent of colon cancer deaths are preventable with adequate screening and the removal of polyps. The General Assembly has already approved a comprehensive statewide education, prevention and screening program for the disease but has never funded it.

Jones wants lawmakers to appropriate $8 million to pay for the program over the next two years.