Pilot project will target men in the workplace in eight Kentucky counties, in an effort to prevent lung cancer

Eight Kentucky counties have been chosen to be part of a pilot program that will target males in the workplace to decrease lung cancer in the state, Renee Beasley Jones reports for The Messenger-Inquirer in Owensboro.

"Kentucky has the highest rate of new cases and deaths from lung cancer in the nation, and in many counties throughout Kentucky, the rates are significantly higher in males than females," Jennifer Redmond Knight, assistant professor of health management and policy at the University of Kentucky College of Public Health, told Jones.

The eight counties are Casey, Christian, Clay, Jackson, McCracken, Ohio, Perry and Warren. Jones writes that they were chosen based on their rates of lung cancer, poverty status, whether they were considered medically under-served, had low levels of literacy and high rates of hospitalizations.

The project is funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's SelfMade Health Network, which works toward tobacco and cancer prevention efforts in populations that have high disparities of both.
Kentucky Cancer Registry maps show lung cancer incidence and mortality rates
 for men in Kentucky between 2010 and 2014. Second map highlights Casey County.
The program, called Lung Cancer Prevention and Survivorship Is Good Business, will target businesses where more than half the employees are men. It will be coordinated by the College of Public Health, the Kentucky Cancer Program and the Kentucky Cancer Consortium.

The pilot is targeting men in workplaces because they have "significantly higher rates" of cancer and deaths from lung cancer, and because the Kentucky Cancer Program has learned through experience that one of the best ways to reach men with health-related information is at work, Jennifer Redmond Knight, who is also the lead investigator, told Jones.

She added that the goals of the program include: reducing the smoking rate, increasing the number of radon tests conducted in homes, reducing the number of people exposed to secondhand smoke and increasing lung-cancer screenings. The ultimate goal is to reduce lung cancer rates in Kentucky.

Radon,which is an odorless, colorless and tasteless gas, is the second leading cause of lung cancer and studies show that the combination of radon gas and cigarette smoke increases the risk for lung cancer more than either factor alone. Click here for more information about radon and to learn how to get a free radon test kit.

The pilot program will eventually develop a lung cancer work site resource kit, based on feedback from participating businesses, that can be used across the state. The pilot is expected to go through January 2019.

Jones writes that six businesses in Ohio County are participating in the program including Perdue Foods, which has an extensive wellness program. Angie Hudnall, the plant's RN health improvement program specialist, told Jones that the pilot program complements their plant's health improvement program.

She said: "The pilot program matches our focus on primary care, prevention and early intervention to improve associate health and reduce health-care costs -- for our associates and for our company."

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