Colorectal cancer is one of the most preventable and treatable cancers, yet Louisiana has the third highest death rate from this cancer in the country. One of the most effective tools to catch this cancer in its earliest stage if through an at-home screening test and Lake Charles Memorial Hospital is giving away those kits for free.
If you walked through the atrium at LCMH Wednesday, you could not help but notice a giant, inflatable colon. It was set up to give people and up close, 3D view of healthy colon tissue, polyps, and various stages of cancer.
Patricia Bettis is an educator with Louisiana Cancer Prevention Control and says walking through the colon helps people better understand the silent progression of cancer.
“If you can visually see what’s actually going on in your colon, you may be prompted to go ahead and get your colorectal screening,” said Bettis.
Colorectal cancer usually begins as a polyp, a growth on the inner surface of the colon. Without a colonoscopy or fecal occult blood test, this cancer can go undetected. That is why LCMH is offering free at-home tests to anyone over the age of 50, or over the age of 30 with a family history of this cancer.
Roman Jenks with the LCMH GI and Pulmonary Lab explains how they work.
“You take a small wooden scoop and you take a small stool sample from three different times,” said Jenks. “Once you do that, you rub a little bit on each of those squares, you close this, and then you put it in the envelope.”
The samples will be tested for blood, one of the possible indicators of colorectal cancer.
“Depending on what they find, the doctor will recommend that the patient get a colonoscopy and they will refer them to a gastroenterologist,” said Jenks.
Colorectal cancer can be deadly, but it does not have to be, especially if you use preventative and screening tools for your own health.
You can pick up a free at-home screening test from Lake Charles Memorial Hospital’s Radiation Oncology Department on Thursday, March 24. You will have two weeks to take the test and return it to the hospital to be processed for free.
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