Cancer screening program in Baker County - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Cancer screening program in Baker County

April 12, 2006

Baker County -- A cancer screening project in a South Georgia county is getting national attention. Albany Area Primary Health Care presented its plan to reduce cancer in Baker County to Congress last month. The county wants to have the highest early detection rate in the country.

Around 20 people came to Baker County Health Center to be screened for different types of cancers. A small start to fixing a big problem in the rural area.

"Money is the issue. We're low income here, and those that were working in Albany or other places, some of the jobs are gone out, and really just don't have any insurance," said Grace Miller.

That's why health care professionals in the county have been meeting with and screening patients for cancer, for free. It's part of a pilot study to help those uninsured or on Medicaid get proper attention and get on track toward a healthy life.

The incidents of cancer here in Baker County and surrounding areas are 35% higher than the statewide average. If the cancer screening program at Baker County Health Center is a success, it hopes to be a model for similar projects across the state, even nationwide.

"Anybody can tell you who's number one in basketball, they know who's number one ranked in football, but something as important as cancer screening, here's a county saying we want to be number one," said Dr. James Hotz.

Dr. James Hotz says the way to be number one is to get people in the county to the health center before problems occur.

"The earlier you find it, the better the chance for a cure, and that's true for breast cancer, colon cancer, prostate and cancer of the cervix," said Dr. Hotz.

The project aims to reduce cancer in a community decreasing the number of cancer deaths, and increasing the number of survivors.

The project is paid for with a grant from the Georgia Cancer Coalition and donations. The free screenings are available at the Baker County Health Center the first Monday of every month until December.

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