COLORECTAL CANCER SCREENING SAVES LIVES
|Graphic courtesy of CDC Screen for Life: National Colorectal Cancer Action Campaign|
Among cancers that affect both men and women, colorectal cancer is the second leading cancer killer in the U.S. But if everyone aged 50 years or older had regular screening tests, at least 60% of deaths from this cancer might be avoided.
What is Colorectal Cancer?
Colorectal cancer is cancer that occurs in the colon or the rectum. The colon is the large intestine and the rectum is the passageway that connects the colon to the anal canal.
What can I do about it?
Get tested! Talk to your health care provider about screening. Screening includes tests that find colorectal cancer by testing the stool (feces) and tests that can find both colorectal polyps and cancer. Beginning at age 50 (or earlier if there is a family history), men and women should be screened for colorectal cancer. Colorectal cancer can be prevented through the removal of polyps, which are small growths on the lining of the colon, some of which can develop into cancer over a period of years. Polyps are found and removed through screening. If you are at average risk for colorectal cancer, other tests are available that find the cancer early. For people who develop colorectal cancer, the 5-year survival rate when it is discovered in the early stages is nearly 90%. Therefore, for people who develop colon cancer, finding this cancer early is extremely important.
New Hampshire Colorectal Cancer Screening Program (NHCRCSP)
The New Hampshire Colorectal Cancer Screening program was developed at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center in collaboration with the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (NH DHHS) to increase high quality colorectal cancer screening for New Hampshire residents. It is funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and has two components:
- Screening provision to provide free screening colonoscopies to average risk, uninsured low income NH residents; and,
- Screening promotion to work with healthcare systems, employers, healthcare plans, and media and community organizations to use proven strategies to increase screening and thereby decrease colorectal cancer in New Hampshire.
You must meet ALL of the following criteria to be eligible for the free screening program:
- Be 50-64 years of age or 40-64 with a family history of colorectal cancer.
- Have no bowel symptoms – Please note: Individuals who have symptoms suggestive of gastrointestinal disease, inflammatory bowel disease such as Crohn’s Disease, Ulcerative Colitis, or evidence of genetic syndromes associated with colorectal cancer, cannot be enrolled in the program.
- Individuals with a personal or family history of colorectal cancer or polyps will be considered.
- Be uninsured or underinsured. Underinsured is defined as having at least a $500 deductible, co-pay or co-insurance for the reimbursement of a colonoscopy.
- Be at or below 250% of federal income guidelines. The income guidelines must be met by all participants; no documentation is required.
- Reside in New Hampshire.
- Be medically cleared by a primary care provider/physician for a colonoscopy.
If you are determined to be eligible, you will have access to free education on colorectal cancer screening, a free colonoscopy screening test and free preparation and free patient navigation services to assist you with obtaining the test and the preparation for the test.
Call (603) 653-3702 and leave a message with best days and best time of day to call you back, and a NHCRCSP staff person will call you within two business days.
NHCRCSP is working with healthcare systems, employers, healthcare plans, media and community organizations to implement proven evidence based initiatives to impact colorectal cancer in NH. If you are interested in working with NHCRCP to increase colorectal cancer screening within your organization please call (603) 653-3702.