In observance of March as Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, St. Peter’s Health Partners (SPHP) – in collaboration with the New York State Department of Health Cancer Services Program (CSP) of Albany and Rensselaer Counties, American Cancer Society, Price Chopper, CDTA, and Albany Devils Hockey – is urging everyone to “Go Blue.”
As part of the “Main Streets Go Blue” campaign, Cancer Services partnerships across New York are working with towns and businesses throughout the month of March to raise awareness about this preventable cancer by lighting their main streets blue, and hosting screening events for men and women age 50 and older who do not have health insurance.
Colorectal cancer is a cancer that begins in the colon or rectum and is one of the most common cancers among New Yorkers. It is estimated that one in 20 people will develop colorectal cancer during their lifetime.
“Each year in New York State, nearly 10,000 people develop colorectal cancer, and more than 3,000 New Yorkers die from this disease,” states Arthur L. Sunkin, MD, chief of medical oncology/hematology, SPHP Cancer Care Program. “However, a large number of New Yorkers are still not aware of their risk and many are not being screened at recommended intervals,” adds Dr. Sunkin, “but colorectal cancer often can be prevented. Regular screening can find precancerous polyps so they can be removed before they turn into cancer.”
All men and women age 50 and older are urged to get screened. While the disease can occur at any age, most people who develop colorectal cancer are age 50 or older. Additionally, those with a personal or family history of colon polyps (abnormal growths in the colon or rectum) or colon cancer, or inflammatory bowel disease, are at higher risk for developing colorectal cancer and may require more frequent tests.
Community outreach events are being held at several locations around the Capital Region. Uninsured individuals age 50 and older will be able to pick up easy to do take-home kits, free of charge, to screen for colon cancer. The locations include: Westgate Price Chopper, Thursday, Mar. 10, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m., Central Ave., Albany; and Albany Devils Hockey Game, Saturday, Mar. 12, 5 pm, Times Union Center, Albany.
Additionally, Albany and Rensselaer Cancer Services Program staff will be riding select CDTA bus routes throughout the Capital Region on Wednesday, Mar. 9, and Friday, Mar. 11 to share information.
For more information about colon cancer screenings, visit www.cspofalbandren.com, or call (518) 525-8680.