CHW hosts colorectal cancer screening event March 4
Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States, affecting both men and women.
March marks National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, a time to highlight the risks, symptoms and the fact that the disease is highly preventable with screenings starting at age 50.
“Screenings allow healthcare providers to find pre-cancerous polyps so that they can be removed before possibly becoming cancerous,” said Coastal Health & Wellness (CHW) Medical Director Cynthia Ripsin, MS, MPH, MD. “Polyps are abnormal growths – they shouldn’t be there. Over time, a polyp may turn into cancer.”
Men and women ages 50-75 should be screened for colorectal cancer regularly. Those older than 75 should ask their doctor if they should be screened and how often, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
“Regular screenings also allow us to find cancer while it’s still early and treatment can be most effective,” Ripsin said.
CHW will host a National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month event on March 4, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. and will offer free fecal immunochemical test (FIT) screenings to eligible patients. This screening tests for hidden blood in the stool, a symptom of colorectal cancer. Patients may take the tests home, complete them and mail the sample off for testing.
There will also be refreshments, educational material on colorectal cancer screenings and giveaways including $20 Walmart gift cards being awarded every 30 minutes. The event will take place at CHW, 9850-C Emmett F. Lowry Expressway, Texas City.
Each year, roughly 140,000 Americans are diagnosed with colorectal cancer with more than 50,000 dying from the disease. Risk increases with age. More than 90 percent of colorectal cancers occur in people who are 50 years old or older, according to the CDC.
Other risks include a personal or family history of colorectal polyps or colorectal cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis or genetic syndromes like familial adenomatous polyposis or hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer.
Symptoms may include blood in or on stool, stomach pain and aches or cramps that do not go away and losing weight with no known reason. While these symptoms may also be caused by something other than colorectal cancer, it’s important to contact a healthcare provider if symptoms are present.
“There aren’t always symptoms when you have pre-cancerous polyps and colorectal cancer, especially in the early stages,” Ripsin said. “That’s why regular screenings are so important.”
For more information, visit https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/colorectal.