State group to promote cancer awareness on campus

Healthy Horizons just wrapped up phase one of a multi-phase process to encourage screenings for breast, cervical and colorectal cancer in the campus community.

Healthy Horizons is a program started in 2004 to promote healthy living.

Earlier this month, the first phase of the process began with a confidential online survey testing faculty’s and staff’s general knowledge of behaviors and attitudes that relate to cancer screening.

More than 370 faculty and staff members responded. Their baseline data will be evaluated for phase two of the process, starting in July.

Based on the results, the Healthy Horizons staff will pick one cancer to focus on and will develop a strategy to encourage screening and educating the university on that particular cancer.

“Our focus at Healthy Horizons is prevention,” said Carrie Maffeo, Healthy Horizons director.  “The earlier cancer is detected and treated, the more successful the outcomes.”

The survey and follow-up activities are supported by the Indiana State Department of Health.

Indiana University Health La Porte Hospital and Grace College wellness programs are also participating in the pilot program with ISDH.  Their results are separate from Butler’s, but their processes are similar.

Maffeo said Butler has worked with ISDH before on several initiatives over the past four years.

Because of that background, Maffeo said Healthy Horizons decided to apply in the hopes of being one of the few schools selected to be part of this pilot program with ISDH.

Both Maffeo and Kelly Daneri, Butler academic program coordinator,  are excited to see the baseline results and assess them.

With the average age of faculty on campus being 46, Daneri said  there is a large eligible population due for certain screenings, and getting the word out though this pilot will be helpful for the Butler community.

“Something interesting that came from the survey was that it spurred people to go online and look at screening recommendations because they realized that, after taking the survey, they might not know as much as they thought they did,” Daneri said.

Maffeo said exposure to education and conversation on the topic is important to raising awareness.

“I think a lot of people fear it because it is a scary thing to say,” Maffeo added. “Still, early detection is really the key for successful treatment.”