A program dedicated to fighting cancer is celebrating a big $1.6 million grant.
The Walking Forward program is hoping to use the money to increase lung cancer screening rates for high-risk smokers here in western South Dakota.
Regional Health and Avera Health collaborate on the Walking Forward program.
The program was started to study the high cancer mortality rates of American Indians in western South Dakota.
The research is now expanding to look at the entire West River population.
Doctor Daniel Petereit is the principal investigator in the study and he's excited about the increased screening that the grant could provide.
Dr. Petereit says, "And so with this program, we'll be implementing access to increased screening using CT scans, they're called low dose CT scans, or LDCT's. It's a very easy test for a primary care provider to order. It's not invasive, takes a minute or two. And studies have shown it maretedly improves cure rats for lung cancer because we're picking them up earlier.">
That $1.6 million grant comes from the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation.