SALINA – Statistics say colon cancer is the third-most common cancer found in both men and women, and it is the second-leading cancer killer in the United States. But fortunately colon cancer found in its earliest stages is often highly curable.
Most patients diagnosed with colon cancer do not have any symptoms until the disease reaches advanced stages. Family history of colon cancer is not often a reliable indicator for risk. Screening is the best method for prevention.
In recognition of national Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month in March, 800 free colon cancer screening kits are being made available to anyone age 50 to 75 who has not had a recent colonoscopy. The kits can be picked up all Salina and Lindsborg pharmacies, the Tammy Walker Cancer Center and Salina Family Healthcare Center while supplies last. The screening is underwritten by a grant from the Salina Charities League.
The fecal blood tests require only one sample and have no food or drug restrictions. The samples can then be mailed to Salina Regional Health Center for lab analysis via a pre-paid postage envelope provided or dropped off at the Tammy Walker Cancer Center, 511 S. Santa Fe. Results of the test will be mailed to both the patient and their primary care physician. Participants in the screening should return their samples for analysis by May 15.
Health officials recommend all men and women have a colonoscopy at age 50 to screen for colon cancer. Between colonoscopies patients can screen with a fecal blood test. Other tests may also be recommended by your physician. Those with a family history of the disease should consider talking to their physician about screening at a younger age.
For more information about the free colon cancer screening kits contact Linda Hinnenkamp, cancer outreach nurse at the Tammy Walker Cancer Center, by calling 785-452-4848.