Medical Center

The University of Chicago Medical Center

The University of Chicago's Center for Asian Health Equity has received a five-year, $4.25 million grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to increase colorectal screenings, particularly among underserved and rural communities in Illinois.

Illinois Colorectal Cancer Alliance to Reduce Mortality and Enhance Screening (IL-CARES) builds on the CDC’s Colorectal Cancer Control Program which worked with community health centers such as Friend Health, 800 E. 55th St., to address colorectal cancer disparities and increase screening rates up to 30%.

“Colorectal cancer is treatable and beatable if caught in the early stages,” said Karen Kim, director of the Center for Asian Health Equity and principal investigator for the program, in a statement. “IL-CARES will mobilize health systems and county health departments around the state to collectively engage in cancer prevention and control.”

Colorectal cancer screening not only detects disease early but also prevents cancer by finding and removing precancerous polyps through colonoscopy, but Illinois ranks in the last quartile nationally in terms of screening rates, which have fallen 86% amid the pandemic.

Colorectal cancer also particularly impacts racial and ethnic minorities, with African Americans having the highest mortality rates from colorectal cancer. Hispanic and Asian Americans have the lowest screening rates.

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