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cover15By Vishnu Nepal

HoustonThe City of Houston Department of Health and Human Services is offering free colorectal cancer awareness and screening in Houston neighborhoods.

The goal of the program is to increase colorectal cancer screening in Houston.

Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States. According to the American Cancer Society, more than 50,000 Americans will die of colorectal cancer in 2014. Many do not get screened for colorectal cancer even though there is a simple test for it.

Colorectal cancer starts in the colon or rectum.  The colon and rectum makes up the large intestine. Cancer can begin anywhere in the large intestine as an abnormal growth. The growth may turn into cancer over time.

Colon and rectal cancer can be cured when detected early. Screening tests can find abnormal growths that can be removed before turning into cancer.

General risk factors for colon cancer include a family history of colorectal cancer, lack of regular physical activity, low fruit and vegetable intake, a low-fiber and high-fat diet, alcohol use and smoking.

The program provides eligible participants who are 50-75 years of age with a home-based blood stool test for colorectal cancer screening.

Those found with positive test results are linked to medical care for further diagnostics and treatment as needed.

There is no cost for participating in the program. The program also provides a small incentive to the participants.

You are eligible to participate in this program if you answered “yes” to the following:

Age between 50 and 75 years,

Never been diagnosed with colorectal cancer,

Have not used any home-based blood stool test in the last 12 months, and,

Do not have a family history of Colorectal Cancer.

To participate in this program, please contact at 832-393-4998 or  832-393-5030 to check if you are eligible.

Local area churches and other organizations are encouraged to participate in this program so that they can offer this service to their community.