Colon Cancer Screening and Prevention Program

The Kentucky Colon Cancer Screening and Prevention Program works to reduce new cases of colon cancer and associated disability and death in partnership with state, regional and local health professionals.

The program receives federal funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to administer Organized Approaches to Increase Colorectal Cancer Screening programs. The program also receives restricted state funding to implement the Kentucky Colon Cancer Screening Program.

Kentucky Colon Cancer Screening and Prevention Program

The Kentucky Colon Cancer Screening and Prevention Program was established by KRS 214.540-544 in 2008. The goal of the program is to reduce colon cancer deaths though prevention and early detection of colon cancer. We do this by giving uninsured and underinsured Kentuckians with individual incomes at or less than 300 percent of poverty level access to high-quality colon cancer screening services, including colonoscopy. 

The program follows the most recent colon cancer screening guidelines established by the American Cancer Society. The ACS recommends screening for all adults beginning at age 45 and before age 45 for those with a family history or symptoms of colon cancer. 

Colonoscopy is recommended for those at increased risk for colon due to family history or having had polyps removed in the past, those with symptoms of colon cancer and those who have had a positive stool test. 

You may qualify for a free colon screening. To find out if you are eligible to be screened through this program, contact Kentucky CancerLink.

General Information​

Colon cancer starts in the colon and also is referred to as colorectal cancer as it often occurs along with rectal cancer.​

Is Colon Cancer Preventable?

Regular colon cancer screenings beginning at age 45 are the most effective way to reduce your risk of colon cancer. In some cases, colon cancer can be stopped before it starts.

Colon cancers almost always develop from abnormal growths known as polyps in the colon or rectum. Screening tests find polyps so they can be removed before they change into cancer. Treatment works best and chances for a full recovery are much better when colon cancer is found early.


Polyps are growths on the inner wall of the colon or rectum. They are common in people older than 45. Most polyps are benign (not cancerous), but some polyps (adenomas) can become cancer. Finding and removing polyps may reduce the risk of colorectal cancer.

Picture of Polyps

Risk Factors

The risk of developing colorectal cancer increases with age. Screening tests for colorectal cancer should begin at age 45 and continue at regular intervals or at the recommendation of your health care provider. However, you may need to be tested earlier or more often if your risk factors include:

  • Inflammatory bowel disease, such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease
  • Certain hereditary syndromes
  • A personal or family history of colorectal polyps or colorectal cancer


Colorectal cancer first develops with very few or no symptoms over a period of years. This is why screening and early detection are so important.
Symptoms, when they appear, may include:

  • Blood in the bowel movement
  • A change in bowel habits
  • Stools that are narrower than usual
  • General unexplained stomach discomfort
  • Frequent gas, pain or indigestion
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Chronic fatigue

These symptoms also can be related to other health issues. Make an appointment to see a doctor if you have any of these symptoms.

Healthy Choices and Lifestyle Factors

Recent studies indicate that certain lifestyle choices may increase your risk of colon cancer. Although screening is the best way to decrease your risk of colon cancer, you also can improve your overall health and decrease your risk if you:

  • Eat more fruits and vegetables each day
  • Eat less fatty foods such as lean meats (turkey, chicken and fish)
  • Drink less or no alcohol
  • Don't smoke or chew tobacco
  • Get regular physical exercise

Kentucky Colon Cancer Screening  Advisory Committee 

Members represent key organizations and populations affected by colon cancer in Kentucky. The function of the advisory committee is to provide oversight to the Kentucky Colon Cancer Screening Program and report annually to the Kentucky legislature.

KCCSPAC Members 2024

CRC Advisory Committee Dates for 2024 and 2025

Note: Meetings will be conducted by Zoom videoconferencing platform until further notice. 


​January 18
​January 16
​March 21
​March 20
​May 16
​May 15
​July 18
​July 17
​September 19
​September 18
​November 21
​November 20


KRS 214.540-544 Colon Cancer Screening Program

KRS 304.17A-257 Coverage under health benefit plan for colorectal cancer examinations and laboratory tests.

KRS 214.540 Definitions for KRS 214.540 to 214.544 - Establishment and limitation of Colon Cancer Screening Program.

KRS 214.542 Eligibility for Colon Cancer Screening Program - Services provided - Income-based fee schedule - Funding - Affordability - Data collection - Administrative regulations.

KRS 214.543 Kentucky Colon Cancer Screening Program fund.

KRS 214.544 Colon Cancer Screening Advisory Committee - Membership - Duties - Annual report - Colon cancer screening, education and outreach programs.

902 KAR 21:020 - Kentucky Colon Cancer Screening Program