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No cost colonoscopy screenings available

Since November 2020, Mercy Health — Lourdes Hospital, Kentucky Cancer Program and Kentucky CancerLink have worked together to combat colon cancer, ensuring that cost is not a barrier to Kentucky residents receiving a potentially life-saving screening colonoscopy.

Colon cancer is preventable with timely screening and doctors can treat colon cancer successfully when it’s found in the early stages.

Through this state-funded program, Kentucky CancerLink directs Kentuckians who qualify to no-cost colonoscopies at Mercy Health — Lourdes Hospital. Eligible Kentucky residents must be between 45 and 75 years of age and be uninsured or have an insurance plan that does not cover preventive screenings or are under-insured which means there is a high deductible/out-of-pocket that is a barrier to receiving colonoscopy services.

Those who qualify and who have a family history of colon cancer, or certain health issues that increase the risk of colon cancer, may be eligible for a colonoscopy before age 45. The program can also cover individuals who do not have Medicare Part B coverage and meet other eligibility guidelines. Financial guidelines and health history can be discussed on an individual basis.

“My doctor suggested this program for me after I saw it on the news. They took care of everything. I couldn’t ask for anything better. They followed through with everything and all I had to do was show up and get my Gatorade. I wouldn’t have done it if it wasn’t for them. It was a great experience,” says Darlene Lemaster, who had a screening colonoscopy through Kentucky CancerLink in 2021.

“Since 2019, nearly 500 patients have received no cost colonoscopy services through Kentucky CancerLink, with approximately 45% of those having polyps removed,” says Cancer Control Specialist Angie Kinsey Timmons with the Kentucky Cancer Program.

“Kentucky CancerLink provides a wonderful service and so we’re pleased to be working with this organization on the colonoscopy program,” says John Montville, executive director of Mercy Health — Lourdes Hospital’s oncology service line. “Our collaboration includes the support of Purchase Anesthesia, PSC, and Pathology Associates of Paducah, PSC, as we all work together to ensure we catch cancer early in everyone, regardless of their ability to pay.”

Contact Kentucky CancerLink at 877-597-4655 for additional information about eligibility and/or be enrolled in the program. For more information on colon cancer symptoms and risk factors, visit cdc.gov/cancer/colorectal.

Funding for the screening program is courtesy of the Kentucky Colon Cancer Screening and Prevention Program at the Kentucky Department for Public Health, which helps address the problem of colon cancer in the Commonwealth.

For a list of cancer resources, please visit https://www.kycancerprogram.org/kcp-west.

For more information concerning Mercy Health or Mercy Health — Lourdes Hospital visit mercy.com.