Tuesday, March 6, 2012

March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month in Colorado

Well, March is national Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, and everyone over 50 should get a colonoscopy. Can't afford it? The Center for Disease Control's Colorectal Cancer Control Program provides access to colorectal cancer screening to low-income men and women who are 50–64 years old and are underinsured or uninsured. 

Among cancers that affect both men and women, colorectal cancer (cancer of the colon or rectum) is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States. Every year, more than 140,000 Americans are diagnosed with colorectal cancer, and more than 50,000 people die from the disease.

The University of Colorado Cancer Center used to offer affordable testing through its Colorado Colorectal Screening Program (CCSP), but due to a 78% budget reduction for Fiscal Year 2012, CCSP is only offering endoscopic screening in rural areas, where it was determined screening is hard to come by.  

In urban areas the CCSP is championing  the use of Fecal Occult Blood Tests every year (high sensitivity guaiac-based or fecal immunochemical test or FIT). A FIT/FOBT is a test that patients can do at home. It screens for colorectal cancer by detecting blood in the stool. You can also get these tests through the 9Health Fair, which is taking place from March through May, with the bulk of the fairs being held in April.

To find out if you qualify for a free or low-cost colorectal cancer screening test and where to get screened, call 1 (866) 227-7914.

Program Eligibility:  

  • Age 50 or older (at average risk) or under 50 at increased risk for colorectal cancer (those having a personal or family history of colorectal cancer or adenomatous polyps)
  • Uninsured, or have insurance that does not cover ANY cost for endoscopic colorectal screening
  • Household income at or below 250% of the federal poverty level
  • Lawfully present in Colorado
  • Patient in a partnering clinic
  • Eligible for a colorectal screening according to American Cancer Society clinical guidelines (see “Screening Guidelines”)

  •  More info on qualifying here.

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