Kentucky is first state with Pharmacist-led colon screening

This year, the American Cancer Society predicts more than 100 thousand people will be diagnosed with colon cancer.
Published: Nov. 20, 2022 at 6:24 PM EST
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - This year, the American Cancer Society’s estimates the number of colorectal cancer cases in the United States will exceeding 100,000. 

Many people hesitate to get preventative screenings such as colonoscopies, but experts say early detection is important.

Medical groups in Kentucky are finding solutions to increase access to preventative screenings.

The Kentucky Association of Health Plans (KAHP) awarded the Kentucky Pharmacists Education and Research Foundation (KPERF) a $50,000 grant to expand access to colon cancer screenings throughout the state. Now, local pharmacists are able to assist patients with non-invasive screenings.

“This is a part of a bigger picture is to get more people screened, provide treatment and reduce the number of patients who die from colon cancer,” said Dr. Benjamin Mudd, Executive Director of the Kentucky Pharmacist Association. “Pharmacists are uniquely positioned to touched those that may not have that annual wellness visit. That is the population we are trying to catch.

Currently, Capital Pharmacy in Frankfort is the only pharmacy in the state offering this service.

“I think we have acknowledged that five or six pharmacies are going to add this service,” said Dr. Mudd. “Kentucky is behind on colon cancer screenings. Pharmacists have access to patients that may not be in situations that get screened on a regular basis.”

Unlike colonoscopies, the pharmacists-led colon screens are less intense.

“This one is a fecal screening and it’s not invasive,” said Dr. Misty Stutz, President of the Kentucky Pharmacist Association. “I think some patients would prefer this type of screening as opposed of a colonoscopy. This is why it is only used for your average risk patient and not high-risk patient.”

The pharmacy’s colon cancer tests are mailed to an individual’s home. They add the sample and mail it. The pharmacy will receive the results and inform the patient.