Published on February 19, 2013

Free Colon Cancer Testing Kits Available During March

Anyone 50 years old or older, or those with other factors associated with an increased risk of colon cancer, are encouraged to pick up and return a free colon cancer testing kit in the Quad Cities during National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month in March.

The kits are provided free of charge as long as supplies last. This annual screening is sponsored by Genesis Health System, Walgreens Drug Stores, Illini Laboratory and the American Cancer Society. Completed kits should be mailed to the Illini Laboratory. Participants will have results mailed to them within four weeks.

The kits are designed to detect small amounts of hidden blood, which can indicate early problems with polyps or cancer before other symptoms are apparent. Anyone with a positive test should contact their family physician and ask about a colonoscopy. Also, anyone 50 years old or older should ask their doctor about having a first colonoscopy.

Excluding skin cancers, colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosed in both men and women in the United States. The American Cancer Society's estimate for the number of new colon cancer cases in the United States for 2013 is 102,480.

The death rate (the number of deaths per 100,000 people per year) from colorectal cancer has been dropping in both men and women for more than 20 years. There are a number of likely reasons for this. One is that polyps are being found by screening and removed before they can develop into cancers.

Screening is also allowing more colorectal cancers to be found earlier when the disease is easier to treat and cure.

Both men and women are at risk for colon cancer and more lives could be saved if people better understood the risks of the disease and received regular testing.

Screening and colonoscopy are the most effective ways to prevent colon cancer from developing. Most cases of the disease begin as non-cancerous polyps, which are growths on the lining of the colon and rectum. These polyps can become cancerous.

Removing polyps during a colonoscopy can prevent colorectal cancer from developing. Approximately 90 percent of colorectal cancers and deaths are thought to be preventable.
 
Because there are often no symptoms to polyps, it is important to be routinely screened.

For more information on colon cancer, including risk factors, prevention options, and early detection methods, please call the American Cancer Society at 1-800-ACS-2345 or visit www.cancer.org.

Free kits can be picked up at the following locations in March, or until supplies last:

Walgreens Drug Stores

Bettendorf:  830 Middle Road, 3425 Middle Road

Clinton: 806 S. 4th St., 1905 N. 2nd St.

Davenport: 1805 Brady St., 1720 West Kimberly; 1525 East Kimberly, 1660 West Locust St., 4011 East 53rd St.

East Moline: 301 30th Ave.; 1301 Ave. of the Cities

Moline: 3601 16th St., 555 19th Ave.; 4000 Ave. of the Cities

Milan: 440 10th Ave. West; Muscatine:1703 Park Ave

Rock Island: 3100 11th St.; 2955 18th Ave.  
 
Other Pick-Up Locations

Genesis Cancer Care Institute, 1351 West Central Park, Davenport

Genesis Medical Center, Illini Campus, 801 Illini Drive, Silvis

Illini Laboratory, 801 Illini Drive, Silvis

Genesis Medical Center, DeWitt, 1118 11th Street, DeWitt

Genesis Medical Center, Davenport, West Campus Information Desks

Genesis Medical Center, Davenport, East Campus Information Desks

Jackson County Regional Health Center, Maquoketa

Mercer County Hospital, Aledo, Ill

American Cancer Society Discovery Shop, 2397 Cumberland Square, Bettendorf.

Risk Factors

Both men and women are at risk for colon cancer.  Personal risk varies, so your doctor can help you make informed decisions about when to begin testing and the most appropriate testing method for you. Factors associated with increased risk for colon cancer include:

• Age – most diagnosed are 50 or older.
• Race – African Americans are at greater risk.
• Personal or family history of colon cancer.
• Personal or family history of intestinal polyps.
• Personal history of inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative or Crohn’s colitis).
• Certain genetic factors (familial adenomatous polyposis, Gardner’s syndrome, hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer, Ashkenazi Jewish descent).
• Smoking, or use of other tobacco products.
• Physical inactivity.
• Diets high in red meat.
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