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Screening saves lives

Heroes don’t always wear blue tights and a red cape.

The real heroes are those who take care of themselves so they can be around to help the ones they love.

March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, and the primary care providers of Kalispell Physician Network and the providers at the Digestive Health Institute of Montana, a department of The HealthCenter, are joining together in the national effort to raise screening rates and prevent colorectal cancer. Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States, yet screening can prevent half of all colorectal cancer occurrences.

Through screening, doctors can find and remove hidden growths, or polyps, in the colon before they become cancerous. Removing polyps can prevent cancer. Colon cancer screening is recommended for all individuals ages 50 to 75, as age is the single most important risk factor for this cancer. Earlier screening may be recommended by your doctor if you have a family history of colorectal cancer or polyps.

Colon cancer screening is covered by insurance companies and Medicare. Screening options include:

  • Colonoscopy every 10 years (covered by all insurance plans)
  • Annual testing of stool for hidden blood by a high-sensitivity method known as fecal immunologic testing (FIT; covered by all insurance plans)
  • FIT/DNA testing (Cologuard) every three years (not covered by all insurance plans)

If you are between the ages of 50 and 75, or if you have a family history of colon cancer, talk with your doctor about your screening options.

Be a hero and get screened.

For more information, call the Digestive Health Institute of Montana at (406) 752-7441.

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