Colon Cancer Awareness Month Brings Local Grant into Spotlight

Colon Cancer Awareness Month Brings Local Grant into Spotlight
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The Cancer Foundation of Santa Barbara has received a $500,000 grant in support of a genetic counseling program called the Lynch Syndrome, Education and Assessment Program (LEAP) at the Ridley-Tree Cancer Center. This program was initiated through a multi-year commitment six years earlier at the recommendation of Richard V. Gunner, trustee of the Dr. Howard R. Bierman and Anthony Granatelli Fund at the Santa Barbara Foundation. The goal of the program is identifying and assisting individuals with Lynch syndrome, which is a genetic predisposition to colorectal (colon or rectum), uterine and pancreatic cancers.

With March signaling the arrival of Colon Cancer Awareness Month, the magnitude of LEAP hits close to home for Santa Barbara County residents. Through this charitable grant and stewardship of the Cancer Foundation, genetic counselors at the Ridley-Tree Cancer Center are continually able to meet with individuals and families, facilitating important conversations and providing critical screenings. With the Cottage Hospital pathology department and seed money from the grant, genetic counselors at the Cancer Center were able to establish immunohistochemistry (IHC) screenings for Lynch syndrome. This type of screening is also employed in the testing of colorectal and endometrial cancers.

Colon cancer is very treatable when discovered early. From moderate to advanced cases, surgery and chemotherapy are often effective. And while research is still being conducted on Lynch syndrome and colorectal and pancreatic cancers, early detection is key to prevention. Through the initial grant for LEAP and collaboration with the Cancer Foundation, residents of Santa Barbara County – regardless of means – are able to meet with genetic counselors, receive regular screenings and gain further education on these forms of cancer at the Cancer Center.

Lori Willis, Executive Director of the Cancer Foundation, stated, “This grant is changing lives in our community. We are tremendously grateful to Dr. Fred Kass, Director, Medical Oncology at the Ridley Tree Cancer Center, Richard V. Gunner and the Dr. Howard R. Bierman and Anthony Granatelli Fund at the Santa Barbara Foundation for their foresight in supporting this essential program.” Thanks to the commitment of the Howard R. Bierman, M.D., and Anthony Granatelli Fund the Cancer Foundation continues to support the genetic counseling team identify, counsel and monitor individuals in Santa Barbara County with Lynch syndrome. Donations may be made to the Cancer Foundation to support genetic counseling at www.cfsb.org. For more information about colorectal screenings, please contact Lisa Winebrenner at the Cancer Center (805-879-5678).

About the Cancer Foundation of Santa Barbara
The Cancer Foundation of Santa Barbara works to deliver superior cancer care to everyone in Santa Barbara County regardless of means and provides significant philanthropic support to the Ridley-Tree Cancer Center. To learn more, visit the Cancer Foundation of Santa Barbara at www.cfsb.org, or find us on Facebook and Instagram.

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