The McLaren Cancer Institute is distributing free at-home colorectal cancer screening kits during National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month in March.
The Ted B. Wahby Cancer Center is part of the McLaren Cancer Institute and last year, they distributed more than 5,400 screening kits statewide.
The kits are available to people age 50 and older or who have a family history of colorectal cancer.
The painless one-step test takes just a few minutes and can be performed in the privacy and convenience of home.
The kits require no dietary or medication restrictions before screening.
Officials at McLaren say they hope the free screening opportunity will encourage individuals to take advantage of the life-saving benefits of testing early and often for colorectal cancer.
Excluding skin cancers, colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosed in both men and women in the United States.
The American Cancer Society estimates that more than 50,000 people will die of colorectal cancer in 2013.
Who should be tested:
Beginning at age 50, both men and women at average risk for developing colorectal cancer should be regularly screened.
Early detection saves lives by finding cancer at a stage when treatment is more effective, and the chance for a full recovery is very high.
In many cases, screening can prevent colorectal cancer altogether by identifying precancerous polyps that can then be surgically removed.
Deaths from colorectal cancer have decreased over the past two decades, due in part to increased screening and awareness.
Age is the greatest risk factor for colorectal cancer.
Additional risk factors include a family history of the disease and lifestyle-related factors such as obesity, smoking and a diet high in red meat.
To request a free screening kit, please call toll-free 1 (855) 552-KNOW (5669) or visit www.mclaren.org/cancer.