Carroll County will tap a local group of health care providers to administer cancer prevention programs, funded by $427,147 the county will receive this year from the state's cigarette restitution fund.
"We are really fortunate in Carroll County that we have already formed a partnership and have identified the issues," said Patricia A. Supik, executive director of the Partnership for a Healthier Carroll County. "A lot of people in the community are ready to go on this."
Like other health departments throughout the state, Carroll will receive money from the tobacco settlement to pay for cancer prevention and screening. Carroll's share is the 10th largest allotment in the state for prevention, education, screening and treatment of the disease, which claims more than 10,000 Marylanders annually.
About 50 individuals and organizations participate in the partnership, which is managed by the county Health Department.
According to the Baseline Cancer Report, issued Thursday by the state, local agencies are to target seven forms of cancers: lung, colorectal, breast, prostate, cervical, skin and oral - all chosen because they are preventable and treatable when detected early.
In Carroll, where deaths from colorectal cancer are higher than the state average, health officials will work to lower the rates through education, prevention, screening and treatment programs.
The partnership has provided volunteers for two coalitions that will look at tobacco issues in the county.
"In Carroll County, 27 percent of all adults smoke and that is too high," said Supik. "This is definitely something we want to address. And, we want to work with schools to make sure students do not start smoking."
The coalitions will inventory programs to avoid duplication of funding; establish goals and draft a plan on how the county will spend its money, a plan that must win approval from the state health department.
Statewide, $15.1 million from the Maryland's tobacco settlement will go to local health departments.