Free Colon Cancer Screening Options in New York and New Jersey

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March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month and Free Screening Programs are Available

New York, NY – Colon cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer and the third leading cause of cancer death in both men and women. This March, the American Cancer Society is encouraging everyone 50 and older - whether you have health insurance or are uninsured - to make getting tested for colon cancer a priority.

Colorectal cancer is one of only two cancers that can actually be prevented through screening, which allows doctors to find polyps in the colon and remove them before they turn cancerous. Regularly scheduled cancer screenings can help save lives to create a world with less cancer and more birthdays. Free screening programs are available thorughout New York and New Jersey to people in need.

In New York alone, nearly 2.6 million people are currently uninsured. The American Cancer Society has made access to health care and improving coverage for colon cancer screening a high priority. Under the Colon Treatment Act, anyone diagnosed with colon cancer through the state’s screening program will have access to treatment. This law removes fears about paying for treatment as a barrier to screening.

The New York State Cancer Services Program (NY CSP), provides no cost breast, cervical and colon cancer screenings to uninsured and underinsured men and women throughout New York. In New Jersey, the New Jersey Cancer Education and Early Detection (NJ CEED) program provides breast, cervical, prostate and colorectal cancer screenings to low income uninsured New Jersey residents.

NJ CEED serves an average of 20,000 women annually. CEED screening sites conducted almost 12,000 mammograms, approximately 12,500 pap tests for cervical cancer screenings, over 4,000 colorectal cancer screenings, and more than 1,200 prostate exams for men.

“We want people to know that health insurance should not be an obstacle to cancer screening. There are resources available to access free screening, timely diagnosis and treatment if necessary,” said Natasha Coleman of the American Cancer Society. “We have the chance to save lives through regular colon cancer screening; and these programs are the difference between life and death for people who don’t have health insurance.”

In addition to screening, there are healthy lifestyle behaviors individuals can adopt to reduce risk of colon cancer. Studies show that being overweight or obese increases risk of colon cancer, and people whose diets include a high amount of red and processed meats are at increased risk. The American Cancer Society estimates about 4,430 people in New Jersey and 9,780 people in New York will be diagnosed with colon cancer and that about 1,600 in New Jersey 3,120 in New York will die of the disease this year.

If you are uninsured or underinsured and would like to find a program nearest you, call the resource for your state. In New York contact the NYS Cancer Services Program at 1-866-442-CANCER (2262). In New Jersey you can reach the New Jersey Cancer Education and Early Detection at 1-800-328-3838. For information on colon cancer screening guidelines, or if you have been diagnosed and need assistance, call the American Cancer Society at 1-800-227-2345 or visit cancer.org.

Additional Resources:
American Cancer Society Guide to Colon Cancer
Colorectal Cancer Facts & Figures 2011 - 2013
New Fact Sheet on Colon Cancer in New York and New Jersey
Video: Get Tested for Colon Cancer - Here's How
New York State Cancer Services Program
New Jersey Cancer Education and Early Detection
Tag2Nag Bring Colon Cancer Awareness to Facebook

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About the American Cancer Society
The American Cancer Society combines an unyielding passion with nearly a century of experience to save lives and end suffering from cancer. As a global grassroots force of more than three million volunteers, we fight for every birthday threatened by every cancer in every community. We save lives by helping people stay well by preventing cancer or detecting it early; helping people get well by being there for them during and after a cancer diagnosis; by finding cures through investment in groundbreaking discovery; and by fighting back by rallying lawmakers to pass laws to defeat cancer and by rallying communities worldwide to join the fight. As the nation’s largest non-governmental investor in cancer research, contributing more than $3.4 billion, we turn what we know about cancer into what we do. As a result, more than 11 million people in America who have had cancer and countless more who have avoided it will be celebrating birthdays this year. To learn more about us or to get help, call us any time, day or night, at 1-800-227-2345 or visit cancer.org.