NEW CITY – Rockland County Executive Ed Day and County Health Commissioner Dr. Patricia Schnabel Ruppert urge residents 50 and older to get tested for colorectal cancer – it could save your life!
“If you are 50 or older, you are at risk for colorectal cancer, and should be tested even if you have no symptoms and no family history of the disease,” said Dr. Ruppert. About nine out of ten people diagnosed with colorectal cancer are at least 50 years old. Both men and women are at risk.”
Colorectal cancer is cancer that occurs in the colon or rectum, said Dr. Ruppert. It usually starts from polyps (small growths) on the lining of the colon or rectum. Polyps and colorectal cancer may not cause symptoms, especially at first. It can take many years for a polyp to develop into colorectal cancer.
Screening is the process of looking for cancer or pre-cancer in people who don’t have any symptoms of the disease. Regular colorectal cancer screening tests can help prevent cancer by finding (and removing) polyps before they turn into cancer, and can also help find cancer early. When colorectal cancer is found early, it can be more easily and successfully treated.
Some people are at greater risk than others of developing colorectal cancer. Your doctor may recommend that you begin being tested earlier than age 50, or more often than other people if you have certain risk factors, such as a personal or family history of colorectal cancer or polyps, a personal history of inflammatory bowel disease (which includes ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease), or a known family history of a hereditary colorectal cancer syndrome.
It is important to talk to your doctor about your colorectal cancer risk, which screening tests are right for you, and when you should get them.
The Cancer Services Program of the Hudson Valley Region offers FREE colorectal cancer screening tests and follow-up services if you are uninsured (or under-insured) and meet eligibility requirements. For more information call (855) 277-4482 or visit www.health.ny.gov/cancerservicesprogram.
Most health insurance plans cover colorectal cancer screening tests. Check your health plan for details on your specific coverage.
To learn more about colorectal cancer, call the American Cancer Society at (800) 227-2345 or visit www.cancer.org.