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  • Hospital offers FREE home-use colon cancer screening tests throughout March

Hospital offers FREE home-use colon cancer screening tests throughout March

Onslow Memorial Hospital (OMH) is offering free colorectal cancer screening to make sure financial costs – or other factors, such as personal embarrassment – do not prevent you from getting a potentially life-saving screening for colon cancer.

“March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month, and if we can prevent just one instance of colon cancer in Onslow County, then our effort to provide this free screening will have been worth it,” said Tracy Sobiesienski, the hospital’s Director of Education and community outreach coordinator for cancer education and prevention.

The screening, a fecal occult blood stool test kit, is for people age 50 and older or anyone with risk factors for colorectal cancer. It is private (done at home), painless, easy – free! – and available from Onslow Diagnostics throughout the month of March.

“You simply pick up the free kit at Onslow Diagnostics, follow the easy directions to collect a sample at home, then bring the completed kit – which is packaged so that no one knows what you are carrying – back to the hospital for testing. Our staff calls you at home with the results,” Sobiesienski explained.

The test detects blood in the stool through a chemical reaction. While blood in the stool may be from polyps or cancers in the colon, it can also be caused by ulcers, hemorrhoids, diverticulosis (tiny pouches that form at weak spots in the colon wall), or inflammatory bowel disease (colitis). An abnormal test is not necessarily cancer. And keep in mind, that when detected early, colon cancer is highly treatable.

If the results do show blood present, patients will be advised to follow up with their primary care physician to see if further screenings, such as a colonoscopy, are needed. 

Colon cancer is one of the most preventable types of cancer. Research shows that people who are physically active at least five days a week, with sustained exercise of 30 minutes or more, typically have a 25% lower risk of colon cancer than people who are less active. Participating in the hospital’s Lighten Up Onslow (LUO) program is an easy way to stay active! Find out more here: www.lightenuponslow.org

In addition to daily exercise, you can help prevent colon cancer by adopting other healthy lifestyle choices such as quitting smoking, limiting alcohol, eating more fruit and vegetables, and getting regular screenings.

Pick up your free colon cancer screening kit from Onslow Diagnostics, located at 200 Memorial Drive in Jacksonville. Onslow Diagnostics is now open on Saturdays, 8 a.m.–12 noon, as well as Monday–Friday, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Call (910) 577-2900 or visit Onslow.org/ColonHealth for more information.

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