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home : opinions : columns February 5, 2016

3/5/2013 11:50:00 AM
Guest column: March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, screening available at North Country HealthCare
Jeff Axtell
North Country HealthCare Clinic Manger

There are many reasons why individuals should take a few minutes this month and participate in the National Colorectal Cancer Awareness screening campaign. First and foremost individuals should participate because of the low cost and ease of completing a colorectal screening kit. Secondly they should participate in order to screen for this very preventable disease, which is currently the second leading cause of cancer deaths for men and women. Most importantly individuals should participate so that they can show loved ones that they care about themselves and want to be there for their families and friends for many years to come.

Colorectal cancer is a slow growing cancer that doctors can detect through a variety of procedures, one of which is the FIT test. This is a take home kit that individuals can complete themselves with the results mailed to the lab for processing. If there are positive results found then doctors may recommend additional procedures. Individuals over the age of 50, or with a family history of the disease, should be screened annually. Detecting the disease early can many times prevent the disease from occurring or assist with early treatment and improved outcomes. Many times screenings can find colorectal polyps early before they turn cancerous.

Individuals at the highest risk for developing colorectal cancer are both men and women over the age of 50, individuals with an immediate relative (parent, sibling) with the disease and individuals who are of African American heritage. Individuals who have a personal history of colorectal polyps or chronic irritable bowel disease are also at risk for developing colorectal cancer.

The North Country HealthCare Williams Clinic will provide low cost screening kits along with eligibility enrollment into the "FIT at Fifty" HealthCheck program during the entire month of March. Individuals may come into the clinic to pick up their screening test kit every Thursday between 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Information and applications for the FIT at Fifty program will also be available during these times.

FIT kits are only $20 and will be available along with educational materials and instructions on how to complete this simple test. Additional information about the Fit at Fifty program can be found on the North Country HealthCare website at www.northcountryhealthcare.org or by stopping by the North Country HealthCare clinic at 301 South 7th Street, or by calling (928) 635-4441. No appointments are necessary for the screening.

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