Governor Steve Bullock recognizes March 2016 as Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month.

March 10, 2016 | Cancer Screening, Health

In a letter to Marci King Marsh, cancer survivor and advocate for early cancer screening, Bullock outlines his support for raising awareness about colorectal cancers and the need for early detection, diagnosis and treatment. “The vast majority of colon cancer deaths can be prevented through proper screening and early detection. When the disease is caught in early stages the survival rate is 90 percent, a number that drops to 10 percent in later stages,” Bullock writes.
Colorectal cancer risk increases with age– more than 90% occurs in people 50 years and older. Precancerous polyps and full blown cancer don’t always cause symptoms, which is why screening is vital. If you do have symptoms, they may include blood in or on your stool, stomach pain, aches or cramps and unexplained weight loss. Lori Christenson, manager for the Chronic Disease Prevention Program at the Gallatin City-County Health Department says, “One in three adults aren’t getting the recommended screenings. Our hope is to raise awareness about the options that are available for screening and the importance of early detection. Most insurance plans cover 100% of the cost of screening. There are several screening tests; your doctor can help you determine which is best for you.”
As a means to promote Colorectal Cancer Awareness, Community Health Partners (CHP) will be handing out free, take home, colorectal cancer screening kits to their patients who are eligible for colorectal screening. At CHP, if you don’t have insurance or are worried about costs, patients who qualify based on family size and income can receive services, including cancer screening, charged based on a sliding fee scale any month of the year. In addition to the sliding scale option, CHP has certified application counselors at each of their locations and can help people apply for Medicaid and navigate insurance options.
Bullock went on to thank organizers of the event for their commitment to improving the outcomes of this disease saying, “I commend your efforts pushing for action to reduce the number of preventable deaths by raising awareness.”

For more information, check out the following links, or contact Lori Christenson at lori.christenson@gallatin.mt.gov or your local Community Health Partners.

What is Colorectal (colon) Cancer?
What Should I Know About Colorectal Cancer Screening? Colorectal Cancer Risks & Prevention
Cancer Support in Gallatin, Sweet Grass, and Park Counties Cancer Prevention Partners