May 24, 2018
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Free colon cancer screening offered to Mainers

By Meg Haskell, BDN Staff

Eligible Mainers may want to take advantage of free screening and follow-up services for colorectal cancer. Maine recently received a five-year federal grant from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to provide colorectal cancer screening for people age 50 and older who are uninsured or underinsured and who earn less than 250 percent of the federal poverty level.

That equals an income of $27,075 for an individual and $55,125 for a family of four.

The funds also will be used for public education and evaluation of the efforts.

Colorectal cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer deaths among men and women age 50 and older in both Maine and the nation. Almost 900 people are diagnosed with colorectal cancer every year in Maine, and about one-third of them die from the disease, according to Dr. Dora Anne Mills, director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention. The great majority of these deaths are preventable with appropriate screening and follow-up starting at age 50, she said.

Colorectal cancer typically includes no symptoms of illness until the disease is far advanced.

“Therefore, screening is a critical tool to save lives,” Mills said. “We’re very glad to offer colorectal screening to as many Mainers as possible through this new initiative.”

Maine CDC has partnered with the American Cancer Society, Brewer-based Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems, the Maine Primary Care Association, Maine’s tribal communities and other groups to implement the program and provide services and education to all Mainers regardless of geographic location.

For more information, call the Colorectal Screening Hotline at 877-320-6800.

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