Early Screening Saves Lives!
Colorectal cancer can be prevented with regular screening tests, and is highly curable when found early!
The Allegany County Health Dept. Colorectal Cancer Control Program (CCCP) is funded by a grant through the Maryland Cigarette Restitution Fund Program. The CCCP provides the following services to individuals who qualify for the program :
- Education session with a registered nurse to learn about colorectal cancer screening, risk factors, and prevention
- Transportation to and from appointments, if needed
- No-cost office visit with local physician to make sure you are healthy enough to get a colonoscopy
- No-cost medication to clean out the colon the day before the colonoscopy
- No-cost colonoscopy (including fee for physician, facility, anesthesia and pathology)
- Education regarding test results and when the next colorectal cancer screening is recommended
How do I know if I qualify?
- Must live in Maryland (proof of residency required)
- Must be age 50 or older (persons younger than age 50 or older than age 75 must have a referral for screening from a healthcare provider)
- Must meet financial guidelines established by the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (proof of income required)
The program accepts persons who do not have health insurance, and will cover all bills related to the colorectal cancer screening. We also accept clients who have health insurance (including Medicare and commercial insurance), since the insurance may not pay for the total cost of the screening. If you have Medical Assistance (also known as Maryland Medicaid or “MA”), this insurance will pay for your colorectal cancer screening, and we can help you set up your appointments and walk you through the screening process to assure you understand.
When should I start getting screened?
Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in Maryland. The risk for developing colorectal cancer increases with age, and 93% of colorectal cancer cases are diagnosed in persons over age 50. This is why screening is recommended for all persons aged 50 and older. There are some exceptions to this rule, which would mean you may want to be screened earlier than age 50. If you have any of the following, it is important to speak with your healthcare provider about when you should start getting screened for colorectal cancer:
- Family history of colorectal cancer in your parents, brothers, sisters, or children
- Family history of pre-cancerous polyps removed in your parents, brothers, sisters, or children
- Family history of certain genetic forms of colorectal cancer
- Personal history of ulcerative colitis or Chrohn’s disease
- Cancer of the ovaries or uterus
- Warning signs of colorectal cancer
- Change in normal bowel movement habits, such as constipation
- Blood in bowel movements, or black bowel movements (resembling tar)
- Change in the size of the bowel movement (for example, the bowel movement is thinner)
- Weight loss without trying to lose weight
- Cramps or pain in the abdomen (belly)
- Mass or lump in the abdomen (belly area)
Colorectal cancer often develops with few or no symptoms at first. Colorectal cancer screening is the best way to find pre-cancerous growths, called polyps, and remove them before they turn into cancer.
Some other ways to reduce your risk for developing colorectal cancer are:
- Eat a diet high in fiber, such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Be physically active at least 30 minutes per day
- Limit alcohol consumption
- Stop using tobacco products
If you are ready to take that first step in preventing colorectal cancer, call us at 301-759-5121. It could save your life!
For more information on colorectal cancer, visit the following websites: