Free screenings available for colon cancer

March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness month. National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month began in 2000 when the Prevent Cancer Foundation, the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, the Foundation for Digestive Health and Nutrition, and the National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable joined forces to bring about colorectal cancer awareness. Across the nation, collaborating organizations sponsor activities to bring the public information about colorectal cancer.

Among cancers that affect both men and women, colorectal cancer (cancer of the colon or rectum) is the second leading cancer killer in the U.S. But if everyone 50 or older had regular screening tests, as many as 60 percent of deaths from this cancer could be avoided. It is also one of the most easily prevented cancers because it can develop from polyps that can be removed before they become cancerous. The best way to find polyps or early cancer is through screening.

At North Country HealthCare, the Fit at Fifty HealthCheck Program is a colorectal cancer screening program funded by the Department of Health Services. The goal of the program is to reduce the incidence of colorectal cancer through screening and early detection. Through the Fit at Fifty HealthCheck Program, free screening is available for qualifying Arizona residents.

Throughout the month of March, North Country HealthCare will be collaborating with the Cancer Center at Flagstaff Medical Center (FMC) and the American Cancer Society by hosting a booth at FMC's cafeteria on March 18 and 23 11 a.m.-1 p.m. There will be a Fit at Fifty outreach representative at the booth to answer questions, provide educational materials and to create awareness that colorectal cancer is largely preventable, treatable and beatable.

For more information about colorectal cancer, the Fit at Fifty HealthCheck Program at North Country HealthCare, or to find out if you qualify for free colorectal cancer screening, call (928) 213-6104 or 1-800-687-5798, ext. 2373.

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