Kentucky has some of nation’s highest cancer death rates
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 4, 2015) — Gov. Steve Beshear and First Lady Jane Beshear today unveiled a new Horses and Hope mobile unit that will provide free or significantly reduced cost cancer screenings to underserved populations across Kentucky.
Kentucky has the highest incidence and death rates in the nation for several cancers, with an overall cancer incidence rate that is 14 percent greater than the national average. The new van will focus on educating Kentuckians about cancer prevention, and offer screenings for seven cancer types, including breast, cervical, colon, lung, prostate, skin and head/neck.
“For the last 7 years, Horses and Hope has been a leader in educating Kentuckians about breast cancer awareness and providing free screenings to horse industry employees and their families,” said Jane Beshear. “With this new unit, we now have the ability to travel throughout the state offering even more cancer screening opportunities to individuals who would otherwise not get tested.”
In 2008, Jane Beshear partnered with the Kentucky Cancer Program to create Horses and Hope, an initiative to increase breast cancer awareness, education, screening and treatment referral among Kentucky’s horse industry workers and their families.
Horses and Hope partnered with the Kentucky Cancer Program, the University of Louisville’s James Graham Brown Cancer Center and KentuckyOne Health to raise more than $1 million in private donations to pay for the new unit, which will screen for seven different cancer types.
The custom-built cancer screening unit is 40 feet in length, with an exterior design featuring a Horses and Hope theme and acknowledgment of project partners and sponsors.
The interior, which is expected to be complete in February, will include a reception area with monitors for educational videos, patient changing rooms, a patient examination room, digital mammography equipment, space for supportive laboratory services and a passenger cab area. A motorized retractable awning on the outside of the coach will provide expanded space for patient reception, registration and education.
The mobile unit is scheduled to begin providing services in March. This spring and summer, Horses and Hope will offer free mammography screenings at Keeneland, Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Horse Park as part of the Bluegrass Mammography Tour for equine industry employees. The first leg of the tour will take place on April 26, 2016 at Keeneland. Additionally, the unit will host a skin cancer screening tour this summer to provide free screenings and raise awareness and education for skin cancer prevention.
Services and screenings will be delivered through the James Graham Brown Cancer Center that has a Nationally Accredited Breast Center licensed by the American College of Radiology, KentuckyOne Health and supported by the Kentucky Cancer Program.
Horses and Hope has hosted several breast cancer race days at Kentucky racetracks in the past seven years, reaching nearly 1 million race track and horse show fans and educating nearly 16,000 equine employees. The program has screened more than 700 workers and saved the lives of three individuals through screening services.