Colon cancer is a preventable disease, but it is the second leading cancer killer in the United States. It doesn’t have to be! Nine out of 10 colon cancer cases may be prevented or cured with regular screenings.
Unfortunately, during the Covid-19 pandemic, many cancer screenings have been cancelled or delayed due to pandemic restrictions and concerns for contracting the virus. It is estimated that there was a 90% drop in colonoscopies between March and April 2020 compared to 2019. This means there could be as many as 18,000 missed or delayed diagnoses of colon cancer, which could result in an increase of 4,500 additional deaths in the next decade.
Ephraim McDowell Health’s Community Services Department, with the support of the Ephraim McDowell Health Care Foundation, is working to raise awareness that regular screenings can detect cancer in its early stages, when it is the most treatable. While a colonoscopy and/or sigmoidoscopy is the most accurate way to diagnose colon cancer, regular screening of the feces (stool) may indicate further need for diagnostic testing and is recommended by the American Cancer Society on a yearly basis between colonoscopies.
Ephraim McDowell Health will offer free, take-home colon cancer screening kits through November 2021. The screening kits are available for anyone over the age of 45 who has not had a screening in the last 12 months. The kits may be picked up at any of the following locations during normal business hours.
- Ephraim McDowell Regional Medical Center South Wing information desk located off Figg Alley (9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday)
- McDowell Wellness Center
- Ephraim McDowell Commonwealth Cancer Center
- Ephraim McDowell James B. Haggin Hospital information desk
- Ephraim McDowell Fort Logan Hospital information desk