Get screened for colon cancer

To the editor:

March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, so on behalf of the Cancer Services Program of Northeastern NY, we’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.

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. If you live in Clinton, Essex or Franklin County, call the local office at 518-324-7671 to schedule your free screenings.

Ask your doctor if it’s time for you to be tested, or you can contact our program for help or information.

Christina Battinelli and Sarah Granquist

Targeted outreach workers

Cancer Services Program of Northeastern NY