Date on Senior Honors Thesis


Document Type

Senior Honors Thesis

Degree Name



Geography and Geosciences

Degree Program

College of Arts and Sciences

Author's Keywords

Cancer screenings; Cervical cancer; Prostate cancer; Mortality rates; Kentucky public health departments


Cervix uteri--Cancer--Diagnosis; Prostate--Cancer--Diagnosis; Cancer--Prevention; Community health services--Kentucky; Public health--Kentucky


This study compared and contrasted the screening and prevention methods and strategies utilized by public health departments in southeastern Kentucky for both cervical and prostate cancer. Special attention was paid to how such efforts have influenced decreases in mortality rates over the past two decades. The study used both geospatial methods, such as Exploratory Spatial Data Analysis (ESDA) and spatial autocorrelation, and qualitative methods in form of interviews. The interview data showed that Kentucky public health departments had strong cervical cancer screening and prevention programs, but did not focus on prostate cancer prevention. Successes in cervical cancer screening included the expansion of resources and services through the Breast and Cervical Cancer Treatment Program, community outreach, and an increase in transportation access. For prostate cancer, only two health departments had reported offering any type of services. Other counties attributed prostate prevention success to an increase in physicians in the area and the work of employers to encourage screenings. When these results were explored through further geospatial data analysis, there did not seem to be any major correlations between the interview data and clusters of incidence and mortality rate changes. The reasons for a decrease in mortality in cervical cancer are more evident than for prostate cancer, from the perspective of the health department. The key finding was that prostate cancer does not garner the public funding support that cervical cancer does. In order to discover the cause for prostate cancer mortality rate decrease in southeastern Kentucky, the public health department is not the ideal place to look.