Dartmouth-Hitchcock to Lead NH Colorectal Cancer Screening Program

Receives $3.5 Million Grant from the CDC to Increase Colorectal Cancer Screening

October 26, 2009

Dr. Butterly

Lynn F. Butterly, MD

New Hampshire has been awarded $3.5 million over five years by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to increase colorectal cancer screening for New Hampshire residents age 50 and older. New Hampshire was one of 22 states and four tribal organizations awarded a total of $22 million by the CDC to reduce health disparities and increase participation in colorectal cancer screening. Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths among men and women aged 50 and older in the United States.

Dr. Lynn Butterly, Director of Colorectal Cancer Screening at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center and Community Liaison for Dartmouth-Hitchcock's Norris Cotton Cancer Center, is the Principal Investigator for the grant and Medical Director of the new Colorectal Cancer Screening Program (CRCSP) funded by the grant. The Program will partner with New Hampshire's Division of Public Health Services (DPHS) of the Department of Health and Human Services and the Comprehensive Cancer Collaboration (NH CCC) to advance its aims. The NH CCC is a coalition of health and community service organizations working together to reduce cancer and its effects on the people of New Hampshire.

"This grant offers a tremendous opportunity for us to genuinely improve the health of the people of New Hampshire," Dr. Butterly said. "Colorectal cancer is one of the few cancers we can actually prevent, rather than just catching at an early stage. The way we prevent it is through colorectal cancer screening."

Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths among men and women aged 50 and older in the United States.

This year in New Hampshire, an estimated 730 people will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer, and 220 people will die from their disease. According to the CDC, the number of new colorectal cancer cases could be reduced by as much as 90 percent if all precancerous polyps (abnormal growths in the colon or rectum) were identified by screening tests and removed before they became cancerous.

"We are pleased that the CDC has awarded New Hampshire this significant grant, and the opportunity to build upon evidence-based strategies in order to increase colorectal cancer screening in New Hampshire," said Jose T. Montero, MD, Director, DPHS.

The CDC funding will be used to leverage existing resources and organizations in order to change screening policies, practices, and systems throughout the state. In addition, about one quarter of the funds from the CDC will provide colorectal cancer screening services for low-income people aged 50-64 years who are underinsured or uninsured, through a process that will be established over the next six months by the Colorectal Cancer Screening Program in partnership with the DPHS and the NH CCC.

"We are privileged to have the opportunity to make a difference in so many lives, and we are deeply grateful to Senator Jean Shaheen and Congressman Paul Hodes for their efforts on our behalf in securing this extremely important grant for the state of New Hampshire," Dr. Butterly said.

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