EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT) – The mortality rate of breast and prostate cancer is going down in Warrick County.
Health experts revealed on Wednesday local doctors have met a goal to bring the number of deaths down over the last 3 years. It was part of a Community Health Needs Assessment from 2016.
“We were able to change what we set out to do,” said Komen Evansville Executive Director, Sheila Seiler. “We literally have saved lives.”
Three years ago, people in Warrick County were dying of breast and prostate cancer at a higher rate than the state and national average.
Eyewitness News reported it last year in a special report: Something’s wrong in Warrick County.
Experts say transportation was and still is a big barrier, but local groups are continuing to work to find rides in rural parts of the county so people can get regular check-ups.
Education and self-exams are also vital to catching cancer early when it is still treatable.
Enough progress has been made in Warrick County to reduce mortality rates of breast cancer by almost 5 percent. Prostate cancer has gone down 7 percent.
Exercise, nutrition, and childcare are other issues doctors say need improvement for 2019. New goals highlight a need for better access to food and doctors.
By reducing cancer deaths, it gives hope to Deaconess CEO, Shawn McCoy that more changes can come to the Tri-State.
“It’s one project at a time where we can make improvement. That’s what we have to get excited about, accomplishing that, then ultimately the data will change.”
Needs in the community are far and wide, including more access to healthy food. Local childcare officials want to reduce child obesity by 20 percent in 2020.
They aim to build more playgrounds and grocery stores or farmers markets.
Dr. William Wooten with the Mayor’s Substance Abuse Task Force said we can all be part of the change.
“Everybody needs to be involved in all the solutions we’ve talked about today,” he said. “We don’t keep doing the same old things expecting different results.”
A healthy body and mind can lead to a better tomorrow, but problems talked about Wednesday won’t be fixed overnight.
It will take effort at home and school, in neighborhoods and hospitals.
Open discussion is where the idea of change is born. It’s up to us to make it happen.
“Absolutely have hope,” McCoy said.