March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. Colorectal cancer (cancer of the colon or rectum) is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States and every year about 145,000 Americans are diagnosed with the disease. The good news is that colorectal cancer is highly preventable with proper screening and preventative action.
Speaking to your doctor about your risk is always a great place to start. There are many things that you can do to prevent decrease your risk, like staying physically active, maintaining a healthy weight, limiting alcohol and not smoking. People aged 45-75 should be screened regularly and people with additional risk factors should consider starting their screening even earlier. Screening can lead to early detection, when treatments are most effective.
In recognition of Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, Valor Health is providing free colorectal screening kits to our patients and community members. You can find these kits at any Valor Health location and participating local pharmacies and medical clinics. The easy-to-use testing kits can be used in the privacy of your home and dropped off at any Valor Health Location. The results of these tests will be shared with your primary care provider and you for follow-up. Be aware that there are many different ways to screen for colorectal cancer and choosing to start with one of these testing kits can at times affect your insurance provider’s willingness to cover additional testing. If you have questions about what type of screening is best for you, where to find testing kits, or more information about the process, please contact Valor Health Laboratory at (208) 901-3255.
Valor Health General Surgeon, Dr. Zachary Bastian shares, “The most common things I hear from my patients is I didn’t know I needed one, no one told me I needed one, and I wasn’t having any problems. Trust me, If you’re over 45 and you’ve never had a colonoscopy, you probably need one. If you’re just not ready to talk to your doctor about it yet, at least consider taking one of our free kits. It could save your life.”