State of Georgia commends East Georgia Healthcare Center for its commitment to Colorectal Cancer Screening

On Tuesday, April 16, the East Georgia Healthcare Center received a Governor’s Commendation for its successful colorectal cancer screening program that is saving lives in rural Georgia. Rep. Butch Parrish (R-Swainsboro) presented the commendation to EGHC officials on behalf of the State of Georgia.

“The average screening rate for eligible patients in Georgia is 70%, but when we started the program in 2021, the average screening rate for eligible patients in Southeast Georgia was only 33%,” said Jennie Wren Denmark, CEO of EGHC. “Thanks to this program, we’ve increased that rate to 45%.”

EGHC joined the CDC-funded Georgia Colorectal Cancer Control Program in partnership with the Georgia Center for Oncology Research and Education (CORE), the Medical College of Georgia and the Institute of Public and Preventive Health at Augusta University, the Albany Area Primary Health Clinic, and Horizons Community Solutions. Promoted as Stay Ahead of Colon Cancer, it is a five-year program and part of CDC’s national ScreenOutCancer initiative.

By the numbers, 6,700 patients were screened for colorectal cancer at EGHC clinics from 2021-2023; 77 precancerous colonic growths were removed; with nine participating clinics with two onboarding soon.

“Colorectal cancer is the third most diagnosed cancer and the second leading cause of cancer deaths in our state. Over 4,000 new cases are diagnosed each year in Georgia,” said Koosh Desai, MD, the GCRCCP Medical Director for Southeast Georgia. “But it is also the most preventable. In fact, screening can prevent 60% of colorectal cancers, and 90% can be cured if detected early.”

Currently, residents in 13 counties are served by EGHC and this program: Emanuel, Bulloch, Treutlen, Toombs, Tattnall, Candler, Appling, Wayne, Montgomery, Jenkins, Jefferson, Screven and Evans Counties. GCRCCP is also in five counties in Southwest Georgia. More information is available at GeorgiaCancerInfo.org/stay-ahead-colon-cancer.aspx.

“We’re thankful to CDC, Georgia CORE, and our other partners who have joined us in our commitment to prevent colorectal cancer in our community,” added Denmark.

About Georgia CORE

The Georgia Center for Oncology Research and Education bridges the gap between groundbreaking research, educational outreach, and effective advocacy to transform the landscape of cancer care and support in Georgia. A statewide nonprofit, Georgia CORE fosters partnerships to extend research and treatment opportunities; empowers healthcare partners and all Georgians impacted by cancer with the latest cancer care information; and engages and educates government entities on cancer’s impact to help secure critical public resources. Learn more at GeorgiaCancerInfo.org.


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