Cancer service program talks colon cancer
Colorectal cancer is the term used for cancers that start in the colon or rectum. They usually begin as small growths called polyps, long before symptoms appear. Polyps can be detected and removed before they become cancerous. Many people who do not get screened are unaware they have the disease until it spreads to other organs as the disease progresses.
The risk of having colorectal cancer increases with age: therefore, testing is recommended beginning at age 50 unless there is a family history of colorectal cancer or if certain illnesses or symptoms appear. Speaking with your health care provider will help you determine when to be tested and what type of testing is best for you. A simple fecal immuno-chemical test (FIT) kit test can be done at home to detect blood in the stool, as some polyps may bleed. A colonoscopy, which is done in a hospital, can remove polyps to be tested for cancer. Some people are anxious about a colonoscopy. However, medications are given to ease any anxiety or discomfort. Some of the risk factors for developing colorectal cancer are, increasing age, family history, personal history of bowel or other cancers, diets high in animal fats, smoking, being overweight or obese, inactive lifestyle and heavy alcohol consumption.
Most health insurances cover the cost of colorectal cancer screening. However, if you are uninsured, regardless of employment status, the Cancer Services Program of Niagara County may be able to assist with the cost of screening. Free in-home Fit kits are available to average risk individuals, and the cost of a colonoscopy for those 50 to 64 at high risk is covered.
For more information about cancer screening, call the Niagara County Cancer Services Program at 278-8285.