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People ages 50 to 75 urged to take the time to get checked for colorectal cancer

Posted 31 March 2019 at 3:44 pm

Editor:

March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, so on behalf of the Cancer Services Program of Genesee, Orleans, Wyoming and Niagara County, I’d like to share some valuable information and clear up a few myths about colon cancer.

All men and women ages 50 to 75 years old should be screened regularly for colorectal cancer (also known as colon cancer). Colon cancer is preventable through screening and is highly curable if found early. Despite this, it is still the second leading cause of cancer-related death in men and women in New York State.

Why? Because many people avoid getting screened or don’t have the information they need to make this potentially life-saving decision.

Some people believe that if they don’t have a family history of colon cancer, screening isn’t needed. This is not true. Most people diagnosed with colon cancer do not have a family history.

Others think that screening is only needed if they have symptoms such as blood in their stool. However, many cases of colorectal cancer are diagnosed in people who do not have symptoms, which is why getting tested is so important.

Another misunderstanding is that the tests are painful and the preparation is unpleasant. The truth is there are several tests to choose from, including stool-based tests that are easy, painless, and can be done at home.

Many people think that screening is expensive. Not so. Health insurance plans in New York State are required to cover colon cancer screening. And for those who are uninsured, our program provides free screening to men and women age 50 and older.

So, why take a chance with colon cancer? Ask your doctor if it’s time for you to be tested, or you can contact our program for help or information.

Jessica Downey

Health Education & Community Outreach

Cancer Services Program of GOWN