They offered oral cancer screenings and talked to people about the importance of public awareness and early detection. They also spotlighted advances in treatments and research. Some 20 people had screenings, including at least two legislators.

Efforts such as the capitol screenings are important, said David McArthur, UofL Health Care community and media relations manager, because Kentucky leads the nation in tobacco-related cancers and in the percentage of adults who smoke or use tobacco products. The lung cancer death rate in Kentucky is 45 percent higher than in the rest of the country.

Tobacco-related cancers — those of the lung, mouth, throat, neck and bronchus — also strike Kentuckians at a rate much higher than the rest of the country.