Nearly 500 people living in the CSRA learned what changes they need to make to live a healthier lifestyle and lower their risk for developing the deadliest form of cancer thanks to a partnership between the Georgia Cancer Center and multiple churches, health clinics and one recreation center.
The partnership and the results it produced will be part of a community event happening Thursday, Nov. 9, in room 1210 of the Health Sciences Building on Augusta University’s Health Sciences Campus. Augusta Mayor Hardie Davis is expected to attend.
Dr. Lovoria Williams, associate professor at Augusta University’s College of Nursing, leads the cancer- Community Awareness Access Research and Education (c-CARE) program which was funded by the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation. Its mission is to provide cancer information and care navigation to minority and medically-underserved individuals.
“Cancer is deadly. To reach people, you have to go where they are,” she said. “Churches, health clinics that qualify for federal assistance and recreation centers are where these families and their friends come together each week. You tap into these community hubs to have access to the greatest number of high-risk individuals.”
The program is focused on training community health workers who then educate people in the community about lung cancer. The program also provides free lung cancer screening and tobacco cessation services. According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the United States, yet research shows that early detection saves lives. NCI research shows lung cancer is more prevalent in men than women, with African American men being more likely to develop the disease. Ninety-two percent of the people participating in the c-CARE program were black with 16% using some form of tobacco.
“The statistics show that smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer,” Williams said. “One of the greatest benefits of c-CARE was the education provided on the negative effects of tobacco and the opportunity to take part in the smoking cessation services offered by the Georgia Cancer Center.”
Williams says since the c-CARE program began in December 2015, she has seen a 123% increase in people using the tobacco cessation services.
The presentation to the pastors, administrators and community health workers from the 13 sites that partnered for the c-CARE program will also serve as a thank you for partnering with the Georgia Cancer Center.