Broome and Tioga Counties will be using $1.125 million to improve the number of residents getting screened early for cancer and avoiding situations that are linked to cancer, like exposure to smoke and ultraviolet light.

Kathy Whyte/ WNBF News

The grant is part of a five year initiative from the New York State Health Department.

Health Departments in Broome and Tioga Counties are focusing on education.  Young people, especially, will be targeted for information on links between sun exposure, tanning beds and other light sources and skin cancer.  Smoking and cancer information is also part of the education push.

Local employers are to be encouraged to give employees paid time off for cancer screenings and families are being encouraged to have children get the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine.

Broome County Supervising Public Health Educator Mary McFadden described the local screening rates as poor.  Nationally, the average is 80% of people being screened for colorectal cancer while Broome is at 60%.

Four counties received the funding from New York State.