BOISE, Idaho – Colon cancer is the third leading cause of death in the United States, but is also very preventable if people follow screening guidelines.
In recognition of March as colon cancer awareness month, St. Luke’s Mountain States Tumor Institute (MSTI) is offering free at home screening test kits for colon cancer.
The home screening test detects hidden blood in the stool, which can be an early warning sign of colorectal cancer and other conditions such as ulcers, polyps, colitis, and diverticulitis. The test is easy to use and is performed in the privacy of your own home.
The home screening kits are only a starting point to determining if someone is at risk for colon cancer. Accurately detecting colon cancer requires a screening colonoscopy, which is recommended every 10 years after age 50. Those with a family history of colon cancer should consult with their doctor, who may recommend screening begin before age 50.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as many as 60 percent of colorectal cancer deaths could be prevented if all men and women 50 years or older were screened routinely. In most cases, colorectal cancer develops from precancerous polyps (abnormal growths) in the colon or rectum.
Screening tests can find precancerous polyps, so that they can be removed before they turn into cancer. Screening tests also can find colorectal cancer early, when treatment works best. Some studies have also shown that increased physical activity and maintaining a healthy weight may decrease the risk for colorectal cancer.
The free screening kits are made possible through funding provided by proceeds from the Brian Olson Memorial Golf Tournament. The 11th annual tournament will be held this June. Since its inception, the tournament has raised more than $300,000 for St. Luke’s MSTI. Money from the tournament pays for programs such as awareness campaigns, screening kits and financial assistance for colonoscopies.
The tournament is named for Brian Olson a devoted father, community citizen, and 15-year HP employee who died at age 39 from complications of colon cancer in November 2000. In Brian’s honor, a volunteer committee comprised of Hewlett-Packard employees established the Brian Olson Memorial Golf Classic with the goal of raising awareness of colon cancer.
About St. Luke’s Mountain States Tumor Institute
Founded in 1969, St. Luke’s Mountain States Tumor Institute (MSTI) has treated nearly 60,000 patients and has become one of the Northwest’s most respected cancer care centers providing the region’s most advanced cancer care therapies with the added benefit of allowing most patients to remain close to home. St. Luke’s MSTI is one of only 30 cancer centers nationwide asked to participate in the National Cancer Institute National Community Cancer Centers Program (NCCCP). To find out more about St. Luke’s MSTI visit www.stlukesonline.org
Ken Dey served as Public Relations Coordinator at St. Luke's from 2008-2014.