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Screenings for colon cancer urged

March 10, 2016
Westfield Republican

MAYVILLE - March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month and Christine Schuyler, director of Chautauqua County Department of Health and Human Services, is urging everyone to talk to their doctor about screening and testing options for colorectal cancer, also called colon cancer. With recommended screening, the number of people who die from colorectal cancer could be reduced by at least 60 percent.

When colorectal cancer is found and treated early, it can often be cured. In some cases, screening can actually prevent the development of colorectal cancer by finding polyps (abnormal growths) so they can be removed before they become cancerous. Yet colorectal cancer remains the second leading cause of cancer death in New York state. Each year, more than 10,000 New Yorkers develop colorectal cancer and more than 3,500 die as a result.

"Colorectal cancer may not cause symptoms, especially at first, which is why regular screening is needed to catch the disease in its earliest stages," said Schuyler. "We want people to know there is more than one screening test for colorectal cancer and screening is easier than ever. The important thing to remember is to talk to your doctor, decide which screening test is right for you, and get screened. For anyone without a doctor or without insurance, the Cancer Services Program of Chautauqua County can help."

All men and women age 50 and older should get screened for colorectal cancer. Although this disease can occur at any age, most people who develop colorectal cancer are over age 50. Anyone with a personal or family history of colorectal polyps (abnormal growths in the colon or rectum), colorectal cancer, or a personal history of inflammatory bowel disease, is at higher risk for developing colorectal cancer. These individuals should talk to their doctors about when to begin screening and how often they should be tested.

For individuals insured through Medicaid, Medicare, and commercial health plans, including those participating in the New York State of Health, colorectal cancer screening is covered with no cost to the patient.

To learn more about screening options, visit health.ny.gov.

 
 
 

 

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