Wear Blue for Colorectal Cancer Awareness

FULTON, NY – Friday, March 7, is National Dress in Blue Day in honor of colorectal cancer awareness month. Wear something blue to bring attention to this preventable cancer and spread the word about lifesaving screening.

Colorectal cancer — cancer that begins in the colon or rectum — is one of the most common cancers among New Yorkers. It is estimated that one in 20 people will develop colorectal cancer during their lifetime.

“Each year in New York State, more than 10,000 people develop cancer of the colon and rectum, and nearly 3,500 New Yorkers die from this disease,” says Carolyn Handville, coordinator of the Cancer Services Program Partnership of Oswego County.

Colorectal cancer often can be prevented.  All New Yorkers, regardless of age, can also reduce their risk for colorectal cancer by quitting smoking or never starting, maintaining a healthy diet and increasing their physical activity.

In addition, regular screening can find pre-cancerous polyps so they can be removed before they become cancer.  However, a large number of New Yorkers are still not aware of their risk and many do not get screening when they should.

All men and women ages 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.  People with a personal or family history of colon polyps (abnormal growths in the colon or rectum) or colon cancer, or a personal history of inflammatory bowel disease, are at higher risk for developing colorectal cancer.  These people may need earlier or more frequent tests than other people and should talk to their doctors about when to begin screening and how often they should be tested,” said Handville.

Screening for colorectal cancer is a covered benefit through Medicaid as well as health plans participating in the New York State of Health, meaning that people with health insurance through these plans can be screened for colorectal cancer without co-payments.

In addition, the New York State Department of Health’s Cancer Services Programs (CSP) offers colorectal cancer screening to eligible uninsured women and men in every county and borough in New York State.

Administered through Oswego County Opportunities, the Cancer Services Program Partnership of Oswego County offers a number of cancer screening services including: Colorectal Cancer Screenings for men and women, Clinical Breast Exams, Mammograms, and Pap/Pelvic Exams.

These screenings are available year round, free of charge, and play an important part in maintaining good health.

For more information, or for eligibility requirements for the Cancer Services Program Partnership of Oswego County, contact Carolyn Handville at 315-592-0830 or visit www.oco.org

To learn more about Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month events in your area, call at 1-866-442-CANCER (2262) or visit http://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/cancer/services/community_resources/

Additional information about colorectal cancer can be found at the Department’s website http://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/cancer/colorectal/ or at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s website at: www.cdc.gov/cancer/colorectal/