Nassau County Legislator Judy Jacobs (D-Woodbury) announced today that Nassau University Medical Center, having received a grant from the New York State Department of Health, will provide free colorectal cancer screenings for uninsured people age 50 and older.
“March is recognized as National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, and we are urging all Long Islanders over age 50 to be screened for colorectal cancer,” said Arthur A. Gianelli, President/CEO of Nassau Health Care Corporation. “According to the American Cancer Society, more than 90 percent of colon cancer cases occur in people age 50 and older. Colorectal cancer does not discriminate. It is the third most common cancer diagnosed in men and women in this country, and the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in Nassau County. According to the American Cancer Society, approximately 150 new cases of colorectal cancer are diagnosed each week in Nassau, and 53 men and women die from the disease each week.”
Colorectal cancer is the term used for cancers that start in the colon or the rectum. A polyp is a non-cancerous growth of tissue or tumor that grows before cancer develops. A polyp grows on the lining of the colon or rectum and may change into cancer. When these are found early, they can be removed before they turn into cancer, and colorectal cancer can be prevented.
“Screening tests save lives. People who have polyps or colorectal cancer are often without symptoms, and feel well,” said Dr. Paul Mustacchia, Director of Gastroenterology at NUMC. “Screening tests like a ‘do at home’ stool test or a colonoscopy can find polyps or colorectal cancer early. The earlier a cancer is found, the greater the chance of being cured. If your medical provider does not offer you a screening test, ask for one as soon as possible. It could save your life.”
To request a take-home test or to find out if you qualify for a free colonoscopy, call Gloria Sierra, M.P.A. at (516) 572-4441. If you qualify, she will mail the test to you or schedule you for a free colonoscopy.
The first 100 people to return their take home test and recruit a male (men are less likely to be screened) who completes the test as well, will receive a $15 gift card to Wal-Mart, Target, or Home Depot. After the first 100 tests are received back, free take home tests will continue to be mailed to all who qualify.