Bartholomew County sees higher than normal lung cancer rate

High rates of smoking in Bartholomew and surrounding counties are leading to higher rates than expected of lung cancer.

Columbus Regional Hospital has started a lung cancer screening program to try to find those cancers in their early stages and after more than 1,100 tests doctors there have noticed the higher rates.

Dr. Mark Henderson, a radiation oncologist at Columbus Regional Health explains that high smoking rates mean higher cancer rates.

Henderson explains that they are seeing twice the rate of lung cancer found in Bartholomew and surrounding counties than the lung cancer screening trial results would have indicated.

He said that area smoking rates range from 37 to 19 percent, much higher than your average county rate nationwide of about 14 percent.

Henderson says that the vast majority of lung cancers are directly related to smoking.

Henderson says that there can be other possible indicators, those pale in comparison to the correlation with smoking.

For those who need help quitting smoking, tobacco cessation classes start again Tuesday, March 19th, in Columbus. Those classes are being held through the Tobacco Awareness Program at Columbus Regional Health’s Healthy Communities initiative.

The classes will be in the basement of the Bartholomew County Public Library and they are seven weeks long. Those are held on Tuesday nights from 6 to 8 p.m.

The course is $35 per person and there are scholarships available. That fee covers the workbook, CD, and medication.

To sign up for the classes you can call 812-343-9840 or go through the website at You can also email  [email protected].