Montana Comprehensive Cancer Control Program is grant funded through Richland County Health Department. In order to secure grants, Richland County has to display a community overview using data. Much of this data is leveraged through the U.S. Census for Richland County. The U.S. Census provides an overview of our community and its residents including measures such as: age, sex, race, veteran status, cost of housing, educational background, health insurance, economy, transportation, income and poverty, businesses and geography. This data is essential to documenting the characteristics of a community that make Richland County eligible for funding.

Across Richland County, cancer is the second leading cause of death after heart disease. Each year, approximately 5,600 Montanans are newly diagnosed with cancer, and an average of 1,900 Montanans die from the disease. Furthermore, it is estimated that 53,000 Montana residents are cancer survivors. Montana’s cancer burden is comparable to the United States as a whole for all cancer sites combined and for many individual sites. However, more can be done to reduce the burden of cancer in Montana and the Montana Comprehensive Cancer Control Program is doing just that.

Richland County Health Department hosts the regional Montana Comprehensive Cancer Control Program. This program offers free cervical cancer screenings for qualified women 21 and over and free breast cancer screenings for qualified women age 40 and over. The program also offers colorectal cancer screening by providing free stool sample kits (FIT Kits) for men and women age 50 and over. Richland County Health Department’s Chronic Disease Prevention Specialist in collaboration with Sidney Health Center holds annual women’s and men’s health screenings where a variety of services including genetic testing and colonoscopies are available. If a participant of the Montana Comprehensive Cancer Control Program is diagnosed with breast or cervical cancer, they are automatically accepted in the Montana Breast and Cervical Cancer Treatment program, where they receive free treatment. In the last five years, the Chronic Disease Prevention Specialist Ashley VandeBossche documented 189 breast and cervical cancer screenings with 31 abnormal results, four breast cancer diagnosis and one cervical cancer diagnosis.

The goal of these efforts is threefold; 1) to reduce cancer incidence, morbidity and mortality in Montana through a collaborative partnership of private and public individuals and organizations, 2) To develop, implement, promote and advocate for a statewide, coordinated, integrated approach to control cancer for all Montanans, 3) to ensure quality of life through prevention, early detection, treatment, research, rehabilitation and palliation. Easing the access to cancer screening has provided life saving opportunities in Richland County. Without support from the Montana Comprehensive Cancer Control Program, Richland County would have less access to preventative services and treatment options.

Funding for Montana Comprehensive Cancer Control Program is determined in part by the population of a region as well as the population per square mile. Richland County Health Department is responsible for providing this program to a region of five counties in eastern Montana. Since that area is huge and has a low population per square mile, additional dollars are received to provide outreach education and access to preventative services.

The United States Census 2020 will be conducted starting in March 2020. Please make it a priority to accurately respond to the census and ensure programs like the Montana Comprehensive Cancer Control program stay in the community.

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