HCCH Offers Free Screenings During Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month
Harrison County Community Hospital is offering free colorectal cancer screening tests during the month of March, which is set aside annually to raise awareness about the disease.
The free test, a fecal occult blood test, is a rapid screening method designed to detect blood in the stool, which may indicate gastrointestinal disease.
Screening kits can be picked up at the hospital (2600 Miller Street in Bethany), Bethany Medical Clinic (3202 Miller Street), Harrison County Family Health Center (2703 Miller Street in Bethany) or North Harrison Medical Clinic (16027 Locust Street in Eagleville).
Patients will complete the sample collection at home and return the slides to the hospital for testing.
“Routine fecal occult blood testing is an important tool in colorectal cancer screening, but it does not replace routine screening colonoscopies and follow-ups in the detection of cancer,” said Dr. Chad Lambert.
Colorectal cancer is the second leading cancer killer in the United States, but screening tests such as the fecal occult blood and colonoscopies can find the cancer early, when treatment works best, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Patients over age 50 or those at a higher risk for colorectal cancer should talk to their health practitioner about the screenings that are right for them.
Anyone experiencing blood in their stool, stomach pain that does not go away or unexpected weight loss should talk to their health practitioner, Dr. Lambert added.
According to the CDC, the risk of colorectal cancer can be higher than average if an individual has a close relative who has had colon polyps or colorectal cancer. Inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis and certain genetic conditions can also increase the risk.
Lifestyle factors such as a diet low in fruits, vegetables and fiber or high in fat can contribute to an increased cancer risk, as can obesity and a lack of regular physical activity, according to the CDC.
HCCH’s consulting gastrointestinal specialists offer colonoscopies in Bethany three days each month.