March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

The Onondaga County Cancer Services Program Partnership (CSP) offers free colorectal screening for men and women 50 years and older who do not have health insurance. Of the cancers that affect both men and women, colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer related deaths in the U.S., yet it is also one of the most preventable and treatable cancers when detected early.   Approximately 250 cases of colorectal cancer are diagnosed each year in Onondaga County.

Colorectal cancer begins in the colon or rectum. It originates from polyps, which are non-cancerous tissue growths that occur in the colon or rectum. Over time these polyps can develop into cancer. Regular screening tests can detect polyps early on so they can be removed before developing into cancer.  The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that if everyone age 50 and older had regular colorectal cancer screening tests, at least 60% of deaths from this cancer could be prevented.

Some men and women are more likely to develop colorectal cancer than others. Since colorectal cancer is more likely to occur as people age, it usually develops in men and women who are 50 years and older. A personal or family history of colorectal polyps or inflammatory bowel disease can also increase a person’s chances of developing colorectal cancer. However, there are often no early symptoms of colorectal cancer making regular screenings extremely important.

In addition, the CSP offers free breast exams, mammograms, and Pap tests for women 40 years and older who do not have health insurance. These services are available at private health care provider offices and at CSP program sites throughout the city of Syracuse and Onondaga County. Please call 435-3653 today to make your appointment!

1.  Center for Disease Control (CDC), “Basic Information About Colorectal Cancer”, 2010,
2.  New York State Department of Health, New York State Cancer Registry, Cancer Incidence and Mortality by County and Gender, 2003-2007, Onondaga County,
3.  American Cancer Society, “Can Colorectal Cancer be Prevented?”, 2010,
4.  Center for Disease Control (CDC), “Basic Information About Colorectal Cancer”, 2010,
5.  American Cancer Society, “What Causes Colorectal Cancer?”, 2010,