March is colon cancer awareness month in Illinois, and Passavant Area Hospital is again providing free home screening kits.
Passavant is partnering with the Passavant Hospital Foundation and the Mia Ware Foundation to provide the 500 colon cancer screening kits on March 19th and 20th.
Anyone may pick up a kit which will be distributed in a drive up fashion in the circle drive at the front of the hospital, where staff will be on hand. Individuals will need to fill out a short questionnaire and speak with a nurse when picking up the free kits.
The kit is completed at home and includes a postage paid envelope to return the sample via mail.
Test results are then sent by mail in about three to four weeks.
Passavant officials say that the screening kits require only one stool sample. They use the fecal immunochemical test screening method for hemoglobin in the stool. The test is considered the standard for early detection of blood in the stool, one of the early warning signs of colon cancer.
Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the U.S., but if detected early, 90 percent of those deaths are preventable. Experts recommend regular screening, beginning at age 50.
The test kits will be handed out at the circle drive at the Passavant Hospital entrance on Thursday March 19th from 4 to 6 p.m., and Friday March 20th from 9 to 11 a.m.