Mahaska Health Partnership Offering Free Screening for Colorectal Cancer
MAHASKA COUNTY – In recognition of National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, Mahaska Health Partnership is offering free colorectal cancer screening kits throughout the month of March.
According to the American Cancer Society, colorectal cancer starts in the mucosa of the colon or rectum. Most colorectal cancers grow slowly over several years and usually begin to develop in the form of a polyp on the inner lining of the colon or rectum.
“Starting at age 50, men and women should be screened for colorectal cancer at least once a year,” said MHP General Surgeon Paul Riggs, MD, FACS. “If you have a family history of colorectal cancer or other risk factors, you may need to be screened more often, depending on your primary care provider’s recommendation. The free kits we are offering in March are an easy and convenient way to take the first step in cancer detection and prevention.”
The free fecal occult screening kits can be completed in the privacy of your own home and mailed back to the MHP Laboratory for testing. Screening kits can be requested online at mahaskahealth.org, by calling 641.672.3116. They can also be picked up at Entrance #1 or #4 on the MHP campus or at New Sharon Medical Center in New Sharon. Kits must be returned to the MHP campus no later than April 17.
“Fecal occult screening kits test for blood in the stool, which can be an indicator of the presence of polyps,” Dr. Riggs shared. “However, blood can be found in the stool for a number of other reasons; not all of which mean that pre-cancer or cancer will be found. This test is a great first step in the detection process. If a polyp is found early, it can be removed during a routine colonoscopy, before it has the chance to become cancerous.”
Dr. Riggs also recommends scheduling a colonoscopy at age 50, or earlier for those with increased risk factors. Screening colonoscopies should then be repeated every 10 years unless otherwise specified by your healthcare provider. For more information about colonoscopies, contact your primary care provider or call MHP Medical Group: General Surgery at 641.672.2455.
Mahaska Health Partnership, located in Oskaloosa, is a non-profit health system accredited by the Joint Commission. It is guided by its mission to provide exceptional customer service and health improvement, linking the science of medicine with the humanity of compassionate care. For more information about how Mahaska Health Partnership is making healthcare personal, visit mahaskahealth.org.