By Kara Verbanic, Public Health Educator, Cancer Services Program
March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month! Did you know that about 1 in 3 adults between the ages of 50 and 75 years old are not getting tested for colorectal cancer? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of cancer deaths among women and men in the U.S. and more than 9 out of 10 cases occur in adults over the age of 50.
Screening tests help PREVENT colorectal cancer by finding pre-cancerous polyps early so they can be removed. At first, precancerous polyps and colorectal cancer may not cause symptoms. That is why having a screening test is so important. If symptoms do appear, a person may notice blood in the stool, abdominal pain that doesn’t go away, bloating, or unexplained weight loss.
When was the last time you had a colorectal cancer screening? Screening for colorectal cancer is recommended for men and women between the ages of 50 and 75 years old using high-sensitivity fecal occult blood testing, sigmoidoscopy, or colonoscopy. Remember, colorectal cancer can be prevented through the removal of pre-cancerous polyps in the colon and/or rectum. For men and women without health insurance or those who have other barriers to accessing screenings, the Cancer Services Program provides free colorectal cancer screening. Uninsured men and women may call 315.435.3653 to register for their free screening.
For more information on colorectal cancer and free colorectal screenings for uninsured men and women please visit: https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/colorectal/ or http://ongov.net/health/cancerscreening.html.