March is designated as National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. During this month, hospitals and medical facilities across the nation focus their attention on preventing, treating and curing colorectal cancer. According to the CDC, colorectal cancer, which occurs in the colon or rectum, is the leading cause for cancer death in Montana and the United States.
This March, Sidney Health Center Cancer Care and the Richland County Health Department are teaming up to host a free Men’s Health Screening on Friday, March 15 from 3:00 – 5:00 PM at the Cancer Care Suite, located at 214 14th Avenue Southwest in Sidney. This free colorectal and prostate cancer screening for men between the ages of 55-75 years will include a PSA (prostate specific antigen) lab draw test, a DRE (digital rectal exam) by Dr. Ralf Kiehl, Radiation Oncologist and a complimentary FIT (fecal immunochemical test) take-home kit.
No appointment is necessary to take advantage of the screening. In fact, getting tested for colorectal and prostate cancer could save a life. On average, the lifetime risk of developing colon cancer is about one in 23 for men and women combined. And according the American Cancer Society, about one in nine men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime.
Prostate cancer can be a serious disease, but most men diagnosed with prostate cancer do not die from it. In fact, more than 2.9 million men in the United States who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point are still alive today.
“The key to improving healthcare outcomes is through routine screening and early diagnosis of cancer,” states Dr. Kiehl. “Typically in rural areas, patients do not seek medical attention until they are late in the course of their disease. I believe we must provide opportunities for people living in the Mondak region to get evaluated on a regular basis.”
The American Cancer Society encourages people who have no identified risk (other than age) to begin regular colorectal cancer screening at age 50. Regular screening can, in many cases, prevent colorectal cancer altogether. This is because some polyps, or growths, can be found and removed before they have a chance to turn into cancer.
There are several different tests that can be used to screen for colorectal cancer. However, a colonoscopy is considered to be the “gold standard” for testing since all other tests have to be followed up with a colonoscopy if anything is discovered. This type of screening is recommended every ten years.
The take-home FIT kit looks for tiny amounts of blood in the stool, because cancers in the colon and rectum sometimes bleed. To take this test, individuals will take the kit home and return a sample to the lab for testing.
With recommended screening, colorectal and prostate cancer can be prevented or detected at its earliest stage. If you are 55 years or older, take time to attend the Men’s Health Screening on March 15. All participants will receive a complimentary drink card to a local establishment. No appointment is necessary. Questions may be directed to Sidney Health Center Cancer Care by calling 406-488-2504.