What is Colon Cancer?
The colon is the large intestine or large bowel. The rectum is the passageway that connects the colon to the anus.
Colorectal cancer is a disease in which cells in the colon or rectum grow out of control. Sometimes it is called colon cancer, for short.
Sometimes growths, called polyps, form in the colon or rectum. Over time, some polyps may turn into cancer. Screening tests can find polyps so they can be removed before turning into cancer. Screening also helps find colorectal cancer at an early stage when treatment works best.
How do I Get Screened (Tested) for Colon Cancer?
A colonoscopy is a test done by a doctor. During this test, the doctor can see the whole colon and can remove most polyps (growths) and some cancers if there are any. A colonoscopy is the most common type of colon cancer test but there is also a test you can do at home called a Fecal Immunochemical Test (FIT).
FIT Kit Test
A FIT Kit tests for colon cancer. You do the test at home, and it is very easy to use. Then, you mail it to a lab and they test it for you.
Order a Free FIT Kit Here or call us at (716) 858-7376!
You can order a FIT Kit if you are at average risk and between the ages of 45-75 years old and live in Erie County. It doesn't matter whether or not you have health insurance - you can still order a free kit.
Watch this video about how to use a FIT Kit.
What do I do if My FIT Kit Test Comes Back Positive?
If your FIT Kit comes back positive, and you do not have health insurance, the Erie County Cancer Services Program (CSP) will pay for a colonoscopy. CSP will also pay for a colonoscopy if you do not have health insurance and you are at a high risk of getting colorectal cancer. If you do have health insurance, you should call your doctor.
Our case manager will answer your questions and will help with appointments if needed.
Does the Cancer Services Program Pay for Treatment?
The Cancer Services Program uses a special program called the Medicaid Cancer Treatment Program (MCTP) to pay for treatment for people who do not have health insurance.
What are the Symptoms of Colon Cancer?
People with colon cancer don't always have symptoms, especially at first. That is why getting screened (tested) for colon cancer is so important.
If you have symptoms, they may include:
- A change in bowel habits.
- Blood in or on your stool (bowel movement).
- Diarrhea, constipation, or feeling that the bowel does not empty all the way.
- Abdominal pain, aches, or cramps that don’t go away.
- Weight loss and you don’t know why.
If you have any of these symptoms, talk to your doctor. They may be caused by something other than cancer. The only way to know what is causing them is to see your doctor.
How Do I Prevent Colon Cancer?
The best way to reduce your risk of colorectal cancer is to get screened (tested) for colorectal cancer, beginning at age 45.
There is no guaranteed way to prevent colon and rectal cancers. However, there are lifestyle choices you can make to keep your colon and rectum healthy. People may reduce their risk of developing colorectal cancer by:
- Increasing physical activity
- Keeping a healthy weight
- Limiting alcohol
- Avoiding tobacco
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Buffalo, NY 14202
Phone: (716) 858-7376
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