Free Colon Cancer Screening Kits

March is National Colon Cancer Awareness Month and working towards this goal is the Cancer Society who is offering free kits at many stores to raise awareness to the cancer and provide testing for the under insured in Wichita.

The American Cancer Society is teaming up with Via Christi to offer the kits which are easy to use in the privacy of your own home. The kits are being provided free to people 50 and older and are available at five area Walgreens locations in Wichita along with the Hunter Health Clinic and the Colvin Neighborhood City Hall. The Walgreens offering the kits are located at Central and Hillside, Central and West St., 13th and Waco, Harry and Edgemoor and Harry and Broadway.

They are also being provided free at Kroger's pharmacies throughout the region, including Springfield. Leslie Cohen Zukowsky, marketing and development director for Premier Community Health, said 15,000 colorectal cancer screening kits will be offered free at these locations. "Early detection is the key," Zukowsky said of colon cancer. "If you find something early they can take care of it immediately."

Those who are interested simply need to ask the pharmacist, she said. The kits are simple to use and involve dropping a piece of paper into the toilet and noting the color that the paper changes to on a card. The tests can find hidden blood in the stool, which can be a sign of colorectal disease.

The residents will find out the results in about two weeks, and residents with abnormal test results will receive a call encouraging them to visit their physician. As an incentive those who return their cards by May 15 will be entered to win a $25 card for groceries or gas at Kroger.

The Clark County Combined Health District is also encouraging residents over 50 to get screened, and will be offering free screening kits at their offices as well.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer for men after prostate and lung cancer and if detected early enough, colon cancer can be successfully treated. About 41.8 million "average-risk people" who are 50 years old and older have not been screened for colorectal cancer.

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