March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

WYOMING – The Wyoming Department of Health (WDH) is encouraging Wyoming residents, especially those age 50 and older, to learn about their options and need for colorectal cancer screening.

With an estimated 90 deaths in Wyoming from colorectal cancer in 2015, colorectal cancer is the state’s second leading cause of cancer-related deaths and is the third most common type of cancer in men and women, according to WDH and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Finding cancer indicators early, removing polyps before they turn into cancer and being aware of personal risk factors, help prevent colorectal cancer and deaths from the disease,” said Cassandra Walkama, Integrated Cancer Services Program (ICSP) manager with WDH. “Because colorectal cancer’s initial stages often have no symptoms, early detection is the key to successful colorectal cancer prevention and treatment.”

Walkama noted colorectal cancers can be prevented with screenings such as colonoscopies. “Newer tests such fecal immunochemical tests (FIT) can find indicators of cancer early and be done privately at home,” she said.

According to the United States Prevention Services Task Force, men and women should start colorectal cancer screening at age 50 and continue until age 74. “We tell people to talk with their healthcare providers about which screening test is best for them and how often they need screening,” Walkama said.

As of 2016, 61 percent of Wyoming adults age 50 and older reported having a colorectal screening; the 2016 national average was 68 percent.

And cost should not be a barrier. The ICSP reimburses contracted healthcare providers for colorectal cancer screenings provided to enrolled program clients.

Visit https://health.wyo.gov/publichealth/prevention/cancer/app/ to download the program application. For more information about ICSP services, call 1-800-264-1296, email [email protected] or visit www.health.wyo.gov/cancer.

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