Chester County Hospital to Host Colon Cancer Prevention Event in Coatesville in Honor of Juneteenth

Community Wellness and Colon Cancer Prevention
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African-Americans between the ages of 45 and 75 are more likely to be diagnosed and die from colon cancer.

This form of cancer, though, is relatively easy to treat if detected early.

Those two facts are the impetus behind the Community Wellness and Colon Cancer Prevention Event that Chester County Hospital is hosting on Saturday, June 18 from 11 AM-3 PM at Jubilee Evangelistic Ministries, located at 920 East Lincoln Highway in Coatesville.

The event is in honor of Juneteenth (June 19), which recently became a federal holiday commemorating the emancipation of enslaved African-Americans.

In November 2021, Chester County Hospital collaborated with the W.C. Atkinson Memorial Community Services Center to offer free breast cancer screenings for women in the Coatesville area. Upon seeing its success, a colorectal screening initiative began to form.

“After seeing the positive results of the Abramson Cancer Center – Office of Diversity and Outreach to address the disparity of colon cancer in Philadelphia, we decided that Coatesville would be a good community for replicating Armenta Washington’s drive-by screening model,” said Chad Thomas, Community Health Education Coordinator at Chester County Hospital.

Screenings are the key to early detection, but many obstacles exist for people who live in underserved areas.

“Our goal is to remove the screening barriers for underserved communities,” said Washington, Senior Research Coordinator at Abramson Cancer Center. “It’s a luxury for some to be able to take off work to go to a screening. People must make the decision to either buy groceries or prep for a colonoscopy.”

The event provides the community with an opportunity to receive life-saving information about cancer screenings and share it with others, reminding them of the risk factors involved.

As a drive-by event, visitors remain in their cars to maintain the health of themselves and the frontline workers taking part in the event. Participants are given free at-home colon cancer screening kits, and they also can get free blood pressure screenings.

“Research has shown us that these socially distanced events are feasible, effective, and engaging for communities,” said Washington. “We’re able to decrease some of the burdens relating to cancer that we have seen prior and during the pandemic.”

In creating awareness of colon cancer, Washington stressed a powerful African proverb (Each One, Teach One) to take the knowledge you have gained to teach another.

“By reaching one member of the community, that person can give others information and encourage them to get screened,” she said.

The event speaks to the power of a shared network, resources, and an organization’s focus on improving community health.

“The Community Wellness and Colon Cancer Prevention Event meets two of Chester County Hospital’s community health improvement priorities: chronic disease prevention and access to care,” said Judy Suska, Director of Strategic Planning and Marketing at Chester Country Hospital.

Everyone, regardless of the results of their home screenings, will be followed up with. Those who return their kits can receive a $20 gift card.

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