Schneck Encourages Community to Get Screened for Colorectal Cancer; Offering Free Home Screening Kits

A new study by Indiana University School of Medicine provides the strongest evidence to date to support recommendations that average risk patients can safely opt for an annual, easy-to-use home stool test instead of a screening colonoscopy.
The researchers reviewed and analyzed the findings of 31 studies with a total of 120,255 participants. Each individual had a FIT (short for fecal immunochemical test), which identifies hidden blood in stool. FIT results were compared to the finding of a subsequent screening colonoscopy and were found to have high detection rates for colorectal cancer.
“Our analysis finds that FIT is a good ‘pre-screening’ test for average risk, asymptomatic adults, saving them hassle and the U.S. healthcare system costs,” said Thomas Imperiale, MD, the lead author, a gastroenterologist with IU School of Medicine. “If annual FIT results remain negative, FIT buys you time until colonoscopy may be required, and it could be the case that a colonoscopy for screening may never be necessary or required.”
Colonoscopy is considered to be the gold standard in the United States for colon cancer screening, and it is often performed in average-risk, asymptomatic adults 50 and older.
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force currently recommends screening for colorectal cancer using fecal occult blood testing— the category that includes FIT— sigmoidoscopy, colonoscopy, and other tests from age 50 to age 75, without preferentially recommending one particular screening test.
Colorectal Cancer is the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States—but 90 percent of colorectal cancer cases are curable if caught early. Thanks to colorectal cancer screening, polyps can be found and removed before they turn into cancer. And, colorectal cancer can also be found earlier when it is easier to cure.
March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month and Schneck Medical Center in Seymour encourages the community to get screened. If you are aged 50 or over or have risk factors including smoking, obesity, physical inactivity, and heavy alcohol use, talk to your physician about a colonoscopy.
“You should get your first colonoscopy at the age of 50. Depending on your personal family medical history and risks, you may need to be screened even earlier,” said Kristin Hines, RN, MSN, BSN, Director of Cancer and Palliative Care Services at Schneck. “Talk to your family doctor about how often you should be screened.”
While a colonoscopy is the best way to check for and prevent colon cancer, Schneck is providing free coloCARE kits to test for hidden blood in the stool, a possible sign of colorectal cancer. Free coloCARE kits are available at:
•Schneck Primary Care in Seymour and Brownstown.
•Schneck Endoscopy Center at Schneck Medical Center.
•Schneck Family Care in North Vernon, Scottsburg, and Salem.