Now is the time to be screened for colon cancer
Colon cancer (also called colorectal cancer) is the second leading cause of cancer-related death in men and women in New York state, but it doesn’t have to be. Colon cancer can be prevented through screening. Abnormal growths in the colon and rectum can be found and removed before they turn into cancer; and if found early, colon cancer is highly curable. But the key is getting screened. All men and women ages 50 to 75 years old should be screened regularly for colon cancer.
March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, so on behalf of the Cancer Services Program of Fulton, Montgomery and Schenectady counties, I’d like to clear up a few myths about colon cancer.
Some 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. Many cases of colorectal cancer happen in people who do not have symptoms, though, which is why getting tested is important.
Another misunderstanding is that the tests are painful and the preparation is unpleasant. However, 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 at (518) 841-3726 for help or information.
Cancer Services Program