The Regional Cancer Partnership of Illinois will distribute free colorectal home test kits in March across the region. Local hospital, HSHS St. Francis Hospital in Litchfield, is a member of the Regional Cancer Partnership.
While not a specific test for colon cancer, the kits can detect the presence of blood, which can be an indicator of several different medical conditions.
The screening kits do not substitute for a colonoscopy, the best method to detect colorectal cancer. Regularly scheduled screenings in the form of colonoscopies can prevent cancer from developing if precancerous polyps are detected and removed before they become cancer. Regular screenings can also find cancer in its earliest stages when it can be treated.
A short consent form is required to pick up the home screening kit. After completing the kit at home, individuals will mail it back in a provided pre-addressed envelope. Individuals will receive a letter notifying them of their results.
Memorial Medical Center’s laboratory will process the tests for free. Only 200 kits are available, which will be given away on a first-come, first-served basis.
The screenings are recommended for individuals age 50 and older; and for people who have a history of colorectal polyps or inflammatory bowel disease, a diet that is high in processed food or red meat, smokers and individuals who are obese or have heavy alcohol use.
The kits will be available at the following locations: Monday, March 11, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Simmons Cancer Institute, 315 W. Carpenter Street in Springfield; Tuesday, March 12, from 9 to 11 a.m. at Senior Services of Central Illinois, 701 W. Mason Street in Springfield; Wednesday, March 13, from 9 a.m. to noon at Taylorville Memorial Hospital, 201 E. Pleasant Street.
Also, Thursday, March 14, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Koke Mill Medical Center, East End Lobby, 3132 Old Jacksonville Road in Springfield; Friday, March 15, from 2 to 4 p.m. at St. John’s Breadline, 430 N. Fifth Street in Springfield; Tuesday, March 19, from 8 a.m. to noon at Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hospital, 200 Stahlhut Drive in Lincoln; Wednesday, March 20, from 9 a.m. to noon at Taylorville Memorial Hospital, 201 E. Pleasant Street and also on Wednesday, from 1 to 4 p.m. at Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hospital, 200 Stahlhut Drive in Lincoln.
Also, Thursday, March 21, from 4 to 6 p.m. at Passavant Area Hospital, 1600 W. Walnut Street in Jacksonville, as well as on Friday, March 22, from 9 to 11 a.m. at the hospital; Friday, March 22, from 9 a.m. to noon at Kumler Outreach Ministries, 303 N. Grand Ave. East in Springfield; and Monday, March 25, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Simmons Cancer Institute, 315 W. Carpenter Street in Springfield.
Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of death among cancers that affect both men and women, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Survival rates for colon and rectum cancer are nearly 90 percent when the cancer is diagnosed before it has extended beyond the intestinal wall, according to “Illinois Facts and Figures,” published by the American Cancer Society.
For more information, call 217-757-7684.
Members of the Regional Cancer Partnership of Central Illinois include the American Cancer Society, Central Counties Health Centers, Illinois Emergency Management Agency – Radon Division, Illinois Department of Public Health, Logan County Health Department, Mia Ware Foundation in Jacksonville, Passavant Area Hospital in Jacksonville, Regional Cancer Center at Memorial Medical Center, Sangamon County Department of Public Health, Sangamon County Medical Society, Simmons Cancer Institute at SIU, Springfield Urban League, HSHS St. John’s Hospital Cancer Institute, Blessing Hospital in Quincy, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Taylorville Memorial Hospital and Cass County Health Department.