The Richmond Register

February 26, 2013

March designated as Colon Cancer Awareness Month

Save lives, promote colon cancer awareness and dress in blue Friday

By Gina Noe
Extension Agent

RICHMOND — The Kentucky Cancer Program District Cancer Councils are launching the fifth annual public awareness campaign to increase colon cancer screening with national Dress in Blue Day on March 1.

Few cancers are as easily prevented as colon cancer. Yet in Kentucky, about 2,600 new cases will be diagnosed each year and almost 900 people will die.

March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, time to call your doctor and ask about a screening test thats right for you. Routine screening is highly effective and can even prevent cancer, as well as detecting it early.

The burden of colorectal cancer in our state is significant. Kentuckians are diagnosed at a higher rate than most of the nation and our mortality rate is among the nations highest. Colon cancer remains the second-leading cause of cancer deaths in the state.

Early colon cancer usually has no symptoms; thats why it is so important to be screened. Age is the most common risk factor. It is recommended that everyone age 50 and older be screened. However, you may need to be tested earlier if you have symptoms or risk factors such as a personal or family history of colon cancer or polyps (growths), inflammatory bowel disease, or certain hereditary colorectal cancer syndromes. Talk with your doctor about when to be screened and how often.

There are several different tests for colon cancer. Some can be done at home to check for hidden blood in the stool. Other tests must be done in a healthcare facility by a physician and may use x-rays or a thin flexible tube to examine part or all of the colon. Most insurance plans, Medicaid and Medicare help cover the cost. Some community health departments will soon have special new grants to also cover screening costs for the uninsured.

Dress in Blue - tell your friends why and call your doctor today to make an appointment. Don't let fear, embarrassment or any other reason keep you from taking the next step.

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