Free colorectal cancer take-home screening kits will be available starting at 8 a.m. Thursday, March 17, inside the Memorial Cancer Care Center at Decatur Memorial Hospital, 210 W. McKinley St.
A short consent form is required to receive a screening kit. After completing the kit at home, individuals mail it back in a provided pre-addressed envelope. Individuals will receive a letter notifying them of their results.
People picking up kits must wear masks inside the facility. The kits will be available while supplies last.
Decatur Memorial Hospital and the Regional Cancer Partnership of Illinois are working together to host the kit distribution event in March, which is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month.
The take-home colorectal cancer screenings are recommended for individuals 45 years old and older, people who have a history of colorectal polyps or inflammatory bowel disease, a diet high in processed food or red meat, smokers and individuals who are obese or engage in heavy alcohol use.
For people 76 years old and older, the decision to be screened should be based on a person’s preferences, life expectancy, general health and prior screening history.
Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of death among cancers that affect both men and women, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
While the fecal immunochemical test is considered the standard for detection of blood in the stool, one of the early signs of colorectal cancer, the test does not replace a colonoscopy.
Regularly scheduled screenings in the form of colonoscopies can prevent cancer from developing if precancerous polyps are detected and removed before they become cancer. Regular screenings can also find cancer in its earliest stages when it can be treated.
Survival rates for colon and rectum cancer are nearly 90 percent when the cancer is diagnosed before it has extended beyond the intestinal wall, according to “Illinois Facts and Figures,” published by the American Cancer Society.
For more information about the kit distribution, call 217-876-4749.