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OU Health Stephenson Cancer Center Receives Grant for Cancer Screening Kits from Oklahoma City Community Foundation

Published: Monday, October 10, 2022

Oklahoma City -- OU Health Stephenson Cancer Center has received an $8,065 grant from the Oklahoma City Community Foundation and its Access to Health Care iFund grant program to assist in disseminating colorectal cancer screening kits to uninsured patients who live in Oklahoma County.
“Colorectal cancer is the third most frequently diagnosed cancer and the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States. Colorectal cancer mortality is 1.4 times higher in Oklahoma than in the U.S. Screening is the single most important way to reduce colorectal cancer mortality, but Oklahoma lags the nation in colorectal cancer screening,” said Mark Doescher, M.D., MSPH, Inasmuch Foundation Endowed Chair in Cancer Screening Outreach and Education and associate director for community outreach and engagement at Stephenson Cancer Center. “This grant will help Oklahomans who lack health insurance coverage receive this critically important screening test.”

Through this grant, Stephenson Cancer Center will partner with OU Health Physicians Family Medicine Center to provide fecal immunochemical test (FIT) kits to 300 people due for a colorectal cancer screening. Eligible participants include Family Medicine Center patients ages 45-75 who live in Oklahoma County and do not have health insurance coverage, including private or employer-provided insurance, Medicare, Medicaid or SoonerCare, and are unable to pay for health care.

Abnormal screenings will trigger a colonoscopy referral and diagnostic appointment within 30 days at the OU Health Physicians Gastroenterology Clinic or Digestive Disease Specialists. Diagnosed cancer patients can be seen at Stephenson Cancer Center, where all Oklahomans can receive treatment regardless of ability to pay.

“Colorectal screening for noninsured patients averages around 30%, significantly lower than their insured peers. The cost barriers to advanced colorectal screenings has always hindered our patient population from seeking these important screenings,” said Tersetta Williams, Lead Medical Assistant at OU Health Physicians Family Medicine Center. “The opportunity provided by the FIT test allows our patients to have a private and convenient method for completing this screening. Furthermore, our providers are able to utilize the consultation appointment to educate on the importance of colorectal health and other preventative cancer screenings.”

Fecal immunochemical tests are the least invasive, least expensive, and in many cases, the most convenient colon and rectal cancer screening method. If completed yearly with appropriate follow-up, these tests help prevent colon and rectal cancers and allow the disease to be discovered early when treatment is most successful.