FOBT kits still available
Free Fecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT) kits are still available at the clinics administered by St. Mary’s Hospital. The kits are designed to detect hidden blood in the stool which can be a sign of Colorectal Cancer. Kits are available through the SMH Cottonwood, Craigmont, Nezperce and Kamiah Medical Clinics as well as the Grangeville Physical Therapy Clinic. The SMHC Lab will process the completed kit at no cost during March, Colorectal Cancer Awareness month.
SMHC is represented on the Cancer Awareness and Prevention Coalition sponsored by Public Health, Idaho North Central District. The coalition works regionally to raise awareness about cancer screenings and prevention strategies. Information about CRC is also being distributed in conjunction with the free kit.
From 2006 to 2008 the sigmoidoscopy and colonoscopy screening rates for CRC for people 50 years of age and above rose 7.2% in North Central District. Idaho County’s rates rose by 7.8%.
“We’re proud that our rates for colon cancer screenings have risen in Idaho County especially because it is one of the few preventable cancers,” said Jeanette Gorman, SMHC Community Relations Coordinator and member of the Coalition. “We still have a ways to go because only 36.4% of people who should be screened in the county are being screened.”
The FOBT kits can be picked up and dropped off during business hours at the clinics. Staff are asking that participants provide a self addressed envelope when they return the kits so their results can be mailed to them.
“Although the FOBT kit is a step in the right direction it is best to speak with your health care provider about what further screening is appropriate. He or she may recommend a colonoscopy depending on your age, your family history and other risk factors,” said Gorman.
The American Cancer Society recommends a screening colonoscopy at age 50, earlier if there is a family history. The endoscopic procedure is done on an outpatient basis using a lighted, flexible tubular instrument that enables the health practitioner to see the walls of the rectum and colon. Removal of precancerous polyps can reduce or eliminate the likelihood of colorectal cancer.