The Roundup -

By Jon Ebelt 

March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

Montana Cancer Control Programs begins month-long Colorectal Cancer Awareness Campaign


Each year, 500 Montanans develop colorectal cancer, and 180 Montanans die from the disease. During the month of March, one of Montana Cancer Control Programs’ efforts will be to remind people of ways to decrease the risk of colorectal cancer, a disease that affects the lower digestive system. Regular colorectal screenings leads the list of ways to remain free of the disease.   

“The screenings are very effective at finding colorectal cancer in its earliest stages,” says Laura Williamson, cancer epidemiologist for the Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS). “The disease affects both men and women, so it’s important that adults aged 50 to 75 get regular colorectal screenings. If you think you’re overdue, we encourage you to talk to your doctor.” 

Only half of Montana adults between 50 and 75 years are getting screened for colorectal cancer. A recent report published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ranked Montana third lowest among all U.S. states with regard to the percent of adults up-to-date with colorectal screening.

Williamson adds that there are simple steps anyone can take to help decrease the risk of colorectal cancer. “Not using tobacco and getting regular exercise to stay at a healthy weight are also actions within your control,” she said. “Furthermore, talk to your doctor if there are any changes to your bowel habits.”

For Montanans with healthcare coverage, cost should not be a barrier to cancer screening. All health insurance plans now cover preventive services, such as cancer screenings, as required by the Affordable Care Act.

In March, DPHHS will also be using Facebook to expand awareness and educate Montanans about colorectal cancer prevention and screening. Find DPHHS on Facebook.

The Montana Cancer Control Programs supports comprehensive cancer control in Montana by providing ongoing quality screening services to Montana men and women and education in a manner that is appropriate, accessible, cost-effective and sensitive to each client’s needs.


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