While Jack Kilby Square filled with people on Saturday for June Jaunt activities, many stopped in at the Barton County Health Department across the street for a free cancer screening offered by the Great Bend Masonic Lodge #113.
The Kansas Masonic Foundation is partnering with the University of Kansas Cancer Center this year to host life-saving cancer screening events across the region, like the one held Saturday morning.
Brooke Groneman with K.U Med directed the screening event Saturday. Ninety-four people were seen by a variety of professionals, including a dermatologist who screened for skin cancer and a urologist screening for prostate cancer.
Technicians were on hand to provide bone density scans and derma scans which show skin damage on the face. A carbon monitor was on hand for smokers and those around second-hand smoke to monitor lung function.
Participants that fit a selected age category were also provided with take-home colorectal screening kits.
“We did have a pretty good stack of people who had been advised by the dermatologist to seek follow up,” Groneman said. Typically, about 20 to 25 percent of participants at screening events around the state fall into this category, she added.
That’s not surprising, since many in their in their 40s and older were not advised to wear sunscreen as children. Now, adult screening is important because the damage done in younger years is beginning to surface.
“In general, we are hoping through our education and screening efforts, we will be able to see reductions in the future,” Groneman said. “We tell people how important it is to put sunscreen on their children and grandchildren. Protecting them now protects them in the future.”
In the course of a year, these K.U. Med teams do 28 community screenings in partnership with the Masonic Foundation. With few dermatologists scattered around the state, that’s huge, Groneman said, especially in smaller communities where there is little opportunity to see a dermatologist. Screenings like these allow those who have been concerned about something they’ve noticed to have it checked and learn if further action is needed.
Barton County Health Director Shelly Schneider was pleased with the turnout, saying Monday morning that she hopes the Masons will continue to host these events.
“Absolutely, the screenings went very well,” she said. A small contingency of Barton County Health Department staff were also available throughout the morning in case those being screened needed other services, Schneider said.
Groneman appreciated the hospitality of the Masons and the staff at the health department. She looks forward to returning in the future.