The Broome County Health Department is ready to tackle another significant health challenge in our community, preventable cancers.

County officials and other public health advocates announced a $1.125 million dollar grant from the New York State department of Health today.

The five year initiative will be administered by the Broome County Health Department in partnership will local businesses, school districts, healthcare organizations and the Tioga County Health Department.

The money will be spent on three strategies related to preventable cancers.

First, educate the public, and especially young people, about the link between ultraviolet radiation from the sun or tanning beds and skin cancer.  

Second, work with local employers to allow their employees to use paid time off to get screenings for breast, cervical and colorectal cancers.

And third, encourage kids to get the human papilloma virus or HPV vaccine.  

HPV is a cause of cervical and other cancers in women and men.

Supervising Public Health Educator Mary McFadden says, “Our screening rates are poor.  When we look at especially colorectal cancer screening rates, we fall well below the New York State average.  The national average is about 80% and we’re at about 60% right now for colorectal screening, which is one of the most preventable cancers we have.”

McFadden says a colonoscopy or other test can detect and lead to the removal of polyps before they become cancerous.

Broome is one of only four counties to receive the state funding.