Colon Cancer Awareness Campaign

March is National Colon Cancer Awareness Month. The Citywide Colon Cancer Control Coalition (C5) is partnering with the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH), NYC Health and Hospitals Corporation and the American Cancer Society to urge all New Yorkers age 50 or older to get screened for this highly preventable disease.

Why should I get screened?

Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in in the Unites States. In 2013, 1,329 New Yorkers died of colon cancer.

Preventing or finding cancer early can save your life! Screening is important BEFORE symptoms occur because colon cancers and polyps (abnormal growths) often do not show symptoms.

How do I get screened?

Screening can find precancerous polyps (abnormal growths), so they can be removed before they turn into cancer. Screening also finds colon cancer early, when treatment works best.

A colonoscopy detects more than 95% of early colon cancer and is the only test that can also prevent cancer. This is because the doctor can remove polyps – small growths that may develop into cancer if left alone – before they turn into cancer. A colonoscopy is safe and usually painless, and the procedure takes about 30 minutes. A colonoscopy is usually needed only once every 10 years for men and women 50 years and older if test results are negative. Yearly blood stool tests can be conducted for those who are unable to or choose not to have a colonoscopy.

Why should I get a colonoscopy and where can I go to get one?

Although there are other screening tests, a colonoscopy allows your doctor to see the entire colon and prevent cancer by removing potentially cancerous polyps.

Call your doctor for a screening or call 311 for information on where to get screened.

What should I do right now?

If you are 50 years old or older, it is recommended that you get a colonoscopy. It can save your life! If you are younger than 50 years old but are at high risk for colon cancer (due to family history of colon polyps or colon cancer), talk to your doctor about getting screened.