COLUMBUS - Local Masons will host a free cancer screening on Saturday, Oct. 7, during the Columbus Day Festival in Columbus. Held from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. at the Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas on 120 W. Pine Street, the screening is open to the public. It is one of 28 free cancer prevention events the Kansas Masonic Foundation (KMF) is sponsoring across Kansas in 2017.

KMF conducts the screenings in partnership with the Midwest Cancer Alliance (MCA), the outreach division of The University of Kansas Cancer Center, and KU Medical Center staff. According to Brooke Groneman, the outreach director for MCA, nearly 7,000 Kansas residents have attended the Masonic screenings over the past few years. The screening on Oct. 7 is being coordinated by Prudence Masonic Lodge No. 100 and will include skin and prostate screenings, screen-to-save colon cancer kits, and body mass index (BMI) tests and breath tests that measure lung exposure to carbon monoxide.

According to Masonic Lodge No. 100 volunteer, Troy Glasgow, this will be the first time his Lodge has hosted a screening.

“We decided to hold it during the Columbus Festival in order to give visitors, as well as folks from around Cherokee County, access to several free health services,” said Glasgow.

According to the American Cancer Society, one in two men and one in three women will develop cancer in their lifetime in the United States. Furthermore, the Skin Cancer Foundation reports that approximately 6,000 Americans are diagnosed with some form of skin cancer every day and more than 200 of those cases are melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. The Center for Disease Control reports that, in Kansas, cancer is the leading cause of death and the region has higher than average rates of skin cancer, compared to other parts of the U.S.

“When we catch cancer in its early stages it can make a big difference in successful treatment,” said dermatologist Aly Barland, MD.

KMF Director, Bob Shively, notes that the physicians at the Masonic screenings are advising approximately 20 percent of the patients they see their local physician for a potential health issue.

“We’ve had several screening participants notify us that the follow-up care recommendation they received at one of our events helped them avoid a life-threatening issue,” said Shively, Director of KMF.

In addition to funding screenings at local Lodges for more than 15 years, the KMF created the Kansas Masonic Cancer Institute and developed health initiatives like the Bob Dole Prostate Cancer Research Fund and the Oncology Nurse Navigator and Psychosocial Oncology Endowments at the University of Kansas Medical Center over the past few decades.

For more information about the screening event in Columbus, call 620-674-1248. To learn more about the Kansas Masonic Foundation call 785-357-7646 and, for more information on KMF’s other free cancer screenings in 2017, contact the Midwest Cancer Alliance at 913-588-4719.