Don’t assume you can’t get colorectal cancer. Don’t assume you’re too young or too healthy. Don’t assume that colorectal cancer can’t be prevented. Don’t assume that screening is scary or difficult. Don’t assume that you can’t beat colorectal cancer.
Don’t assume you’re alone.
Assumptions and misconceptions are being challenged for the “Don’t Assume” campaign during National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month in March.
Colorectal cancer, which is cancer of the colon or rectum, is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Faith Schiltz, advanced registered nurse practitioner (ARNP) at Promise Community Health Center in Sioux Center, said the good news, however, is precancerous polyps can be detected before people even get colorectal cancer. Therefore, if caught early, colorectal cancer is highly preventable and treatable.
She said everyone 50 years and older should be screened on regular intervals.
“It’s so important to make sure that we’re following through on recommendations and that you’re talking with your medical provider and also talking with your family – knowing what your family history is,” Schiltz said. “Was there an immediate family member who had cancer? And, if they had colon cancer, how old were they? In giving that information to your provider, together you can make a very good sound decision on when to screen and how to screen.”
Promise again is placing a high emphasis on getting as many people screened as possible for colorectal cancer.
To encourage people to get screened, Promise has a limited number of $30 Casey’s General Store gift cards to give to patients who complete a home stool test for colorectal cancer. The promotion will run through April 15.
Anyone who is between the ages of 50-75 and who has not had a colonoscopy in the last 10 years or has not completed a fecal immunochemical test (FIT) in the last 12 months will be eligible to receive the gift card.
All they have to do is receive a FIT kit from Promise, complete the test and mail it back.
FIT has been proven to be an effective screening tool for colorectal cancer. The noninvasive test, which is completed at home, detects hidden blood in a person’s stool. The test should be completed every year. For established Promise patients, they can call to have a FIT kit mailed to them or arrange to pick one up. For new patients, they are encouraged to schedule an appointment with one of Promise’s providers – Dr. Del Lassen and nurse practitioners Tana Kass, Amy Waterman and Schiltz – to receive the FIT kit.
The FIT kit includes detailed instructions and materials that patients need to collect the samples and mail them back to Promise.
“We will test it and notify you whether it’s normal or abnormal. If it’s abnormal, we’ll give you recommendation of what the next step is,” Schiltz said. “That’s pretty easy. You can do it at home.”
FIT is a low-cost test. Most insurance policies cover most or all of the cost. For low-income people who do not have insurance or their insurance does not cover the test, Promise’s sliding-fee scale will reduce the cost.
For more information or to receive a FIT kit, call Promise at 712-722-1700.
WATCH TO LEARN MORE:
Faith Schiltz, advanced registered nurse practitioner (ARNP) at Promise CHC, shares what colorectal cancer is and how, when and why people should get screened in this video. The video also can be found on YouTube at: https://youtu.be/Xno_MsTJtrY.
WHAT IS COLORECTAL CANCER?
Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About 140,000 Americans are diagnosed with colorectal cancer every year, and more than 50,000 people die from it. Colorectal cancer affects men and women equally.
The cancer usually starts from precancerous polyps, or growths, in the colon or rectum. The colon is the large intestines, and the rectum is the passageway that connects the colon to the anus. Over time, the polyps can turn into cancer. Screening tests – ranging from a home fecal immunochemical test (FIT) to a colonoscopy – can find precancerous polyps so that they can be removed before turning into cancer. The screenings are important because they can detect polyps or cancer before people experience any symptoms.
More than 90 percent of colorectal cancers occur in people ages 50 or older, according to the CDC. Some people have higher risk factors.
To learn more about colorectal cancer, visit these resources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and American Cancer Society.