March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month

Omaha, NE – March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month.

The Douglas County Health Department and American Cancer Society are launching a campaign now encouraging people over 50 to be tested for colon cancer. The Centers for Disease Control says 142,000 cases of colon cancer were diagnosed in 2007, with more than 53,000 deaths.

Stephen Jackson is Health Promotions Supervisor for the Douglas County Health Department. He says the campaign will focus on making sure everyone over 50 gets tested via fecal occult blood tests, or FOBTs. Those kits will be made available at no cost to anyone over 50.

Jackson says people over 50, and those with a family history of colon cancer, are most at risk. People with a family history should be tested before age 50. He says DCHD and the American Cancer Society are starting a testing campaign ahead of the March awareness month because fewer people in Douglas County are being screened for colon cancer.

The CDC says 49 to 57 out of every 100,000 people in Nebraska had colon cancer in 2007. A clinical trial showed up to 60 percent of colon cancer deaths can be prevented if everyone over 50 got screened.