LUBBOCK, Texas — A new grant will allow the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center team to provide no-cost colorectal cancer screenings and colonoscopies to underinsured and uninsured people living in the 15 counties that make up the South Plains region, TTUHSC told on Tuesday.

“We know one thing for sure: West Texans are dying at a higher rate of cancer than they are in any other part of the state, and so we want to focus not just on the research related to cancer, but also intervention and prevention,” said Dr. Lori Rice-Spearman, President of TTUHSC.

Colorectal cancer “refers to a group of cancers that develop on the lining of the gastrointestinal tract in the lower GI tract or the large intestine, and they typically start as a polyp,” said Dr. Rebeccah Baucom, a surgeon at TTUHSC.

The grant, “Fecal Immunochemical Testing for Screening and Treatment of Occult Preneoplasia (FIT-STOP),” provides kits that test for these polyps or masses.”

“If it’s negative, then the individual needs to repeat this process at one year’s time,” said Dr. John Kidwell, surgeon for TTUHSC.

If it’s positive, the next step is a free colonoscopy, Dr. Kidwell explained.

The Health Sciences Center will have several outreach events in the coming months, as well as applications where you can apply to get of the test kits.