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KU researcher takes cancer fight to urban churches

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) -- A University of Kansas researcher is studying the effectiveness of using urban churches to fight colorectal cancer.

Assistant professor Crystal Lumpkins and her colleagues have met with more than 130 pastors and congregants of urban churches in Kansas City, Kan., and Kansas City, Mo., as part of a five-year, $600,000 National Cancer Institute grant. They found that pastors were willing to include health information as part of their mission. But they indicated that they hadn't thought about becoming the primary source of colorectal cancer prevention information for their congregation before the study.

The mortality rate for colorectal cancer among African-Americans is disproportionately high, and many participants in the study were unaware of its risks and symptoms. Participants also reported distrust of the medical profession and barriers to health care.