O’FALLON — March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month and HSHS St. Elizabeth’s Hospital wants people to understand how important it is to not delay preventive screenings which could detect colon cancer in its earliest stages.

Providers at HSHS St. Elizabeth’s Radiation Oncology Center will hold a Colorectal Cancer Awareness drive-through event to give away free at-home colon cancer test kits. The event will be Saturday, March 16 from 9-11 a.m. at the Cancer Care Center of O’Fallon, located at 321 Regency Park, O’Fallon.

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The InSure ONE at-home screening test includes full instructions for an easy, water-based sampling for specimen collection. Patients MUST return the sample to the Cancer Care Center of O’Fallon by March 22 during normal office hours of 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

St. Elizabeth’s laboratory will analyze, and results will be reviewed by a physician, then provided to each participant and their primary care provider. The kits are available while supplies last.

Those eligible to receive a test include anyone age 45 or older or a person with a first-degree relative who had a colon cancer diagnosis. People picking up the free kits can remain in their vehicles. Staff will be masked appropriately during the distribution and will bring kits and information to the vehicle.

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Colorectal cancer is cancer of the colon or rectum, and, excluding skin cancers, it is the third most common cancer diagnosed in both men and women, according to the American Cancer Society. Most colorectal cancer patients do not have a family history and may not have symptoms.

This screening does not take the place of a colonoscopy.

If you have already been screened, talk to your friends and family who are over 45 years of age about getting screened. Together, we can help to eliminate colorectal cancer as a major public health problem.

Routine health screenings and procedures such as this continue to be highly important. Early detection of health issues is key, and St. Elizabeth’s care team urges people to not forgo seeking health care services.

For more information regarding this Colorectal Cancer Awareness event, contact Christy Koenigstein, patient navigator, at 618-607-5545. For more information about the Cancer Care Center of O’Fallon, visit hshs.org/StElizabeths/Services/Cancer-Care.

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