March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

What is colorectal cancer? Besides being a topic that many people don’t like to discuss, colorectal cancer is cancer that starts in the colon or rectum. The colon is the large intestine. The rectum is the passageway that connects the colon to the anus.

Colorectal cancer is the second leading cancer killer in the United States. This type of cancer can affect both men and women and is most often found in people 50 and older. Testing can often find colon cancer early, when it’s most treatable and beatable. If you are 50 or older, getting a colorectal cancer screening test could save your life!

Ninety percent of colon cancer begins when polyps become cancerous. A polyp is a small growth that attaches itself to the inner wall of the colon. Anyone can get colon polyps, but certain people are more likely to get them than others. You may have a greater chance of getting polyps if:

  • you're 50 years of age or older
  • you've had polyps before
  • someone in your family has had polyps
  • someone in your family has had cancer of the large intestine, also called colon cancer
  • you've had uterine or ovarian cancer before age 50

The fecal occult blood test (FOBTis used as a screening tool to check for early colon cancer. “Hidden” blood in the stool may be the only signs of early cancer.  And, if found early, treatment can start right away, improving the chance of a cure.

Four Corners Health Department encourages you to get screened for colon cancer. This simple test can be done in the comfort and privacy of your own home. FOBT test kits are available at no charge from Four Corners Health Department. During the month of March, you can also pick up a free FOBT kit at Walgreens Pharmacy in York, or Pac-n-Save Pharmacy in Seward. FOBT kits for those age 50-74 will also be available at the Four Corners Health Department booth at Memorial Health Care System’s health fair in Seward on Wednesday, April 4th.

 Colon cancer is preventable, treatable and beatable! More information and resources can be found at: http://www.cancer.org/cancer/colonandrectumcancer/ or http://www.cdc.gov/cancer/colorectal/ or www.fourcorners.ne.gov. You can call Four Corners Health Department @ 1-877-337-3573 with questions or to request a screening kit.