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March Is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

Originally Posted: March 19, 2012

Dr. Sanjiv Shah

Southampton - March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. Colorectal cancer is the fourth most common cancer among men and women, and the second deadliest, so it is important that every adult speak with their doctor about screening for this disease.

The American Cancer Society recommends that adults receive colorectal cancer screenings beginning at age 50. Studies show that 30 percent of adults in New York State do not follow this recommendation. The leading reasons for not being screened include lack of awareness on the need for preventive screenings, and not having health insurance.

If you are uninsured, you may be eligible for coverage under Fidelis Care's Family Health Plus, Medicaid Managed Care, Medicare Advantage, or Dual Advantage programs. These affordable government insurance programs provide members with access to comprehensive, quality health care, including preventive cancer screenings.

Fidelis Care educates its members on the importance of preventive cancer screenings through a variety of informational materials, and member outreach conducted by Fidelis Care's medical staff. Members are advised on which preventive screenings they require, and how to obtain them.

By detecting colorectal cancer in its earliest stage, the five year survival rate can be as high as 90 percent. Unfortunately, most cases of colorectal cancer in New York State are still diagnosed in one of the later stages when five year survival rates are much lower. Colorectal cancer can be prevented through early detection and treatment, but you need to do your part by getting screened.

In recognition of National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, I encourage every adult - Fidelis Care members and non-members alike - to speak with their doctor and family members about the necessity of preventive cancer screenings. Together, we can reduce the number of family, friends, and neighbors lost to cancer every year.

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