CHI Health St. Francis will join statewide efforts, organized by the Great Plains Colon Cancer Task Force and the Nebraska Cancer Coalition, to help raise awareness during Colon Cancer Awareness month.
To fight back against the deadly disease, St. Francis staff will be participating in Dress in Blue Day on Friday, March 5. As a public reminder of lifesaving benefits of yearly colorectal cancer screenings, the hospital's patient tower will also be lighted blue for the entire month of March.
Colorectal cancer is the second deadliest form of cancer in the U.S., affecting men and women of all racial and ethnic groups. Undergoing screening, especially for those ages 45 or older, can stop cancer before it starts or identify it early enough to provide the best prognosis for recovery.
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a significant decrease in colon cancer screening, threatening to regress years of progress toward early detection and treatment of the disease. In 2020, there were an estimated 1.7 million missed colonoscopies nationwide as four out of every 10 Americans delayed or avoided medical care during the pandemic because of concerns about COVID-19.
There are multiple safe, affordable options available for screening, including free, at-home test kits available statewide. Individuals are encouraged to contact their primary care provider to start a conversation about screening. Pick-up location for free, at-home test kits in Grand Island is the Central District Health Department, 1137 South Locust Street. Additional locations can be found by visiting coloncancertaskforce.org/pickup-locations.
Nebraska residents between the ages of 45-75 years old who meet certain income guidelines may be eligible for free or low-cost colon cancer screening. For more information, visit the Nebraska Colon Cancer Screening Program website or call (800) 532-2227.
About Great Plains Colon Cancer Task Force
The Great Plains Colon Cancer Task Force is dedicated to increasing the number of lives saved from colon cancer through education, early detection and prevention. The nonprofit organization formed in 1999 and is a collaboration of health organizations, businesses, colon cancer survivors and volunteers throughout the community who are engaged in a comprehensive effort to get the community talking about colon cancer and to provide free colon cancer screenings and resources.
About Nebraska Cancer Coalition
The Nebraska Cancer Coalition (NC2) is a statewide partnership of 350 individuals representing 200 public and private organizations. Our partners work together to prevent and control cancer, and the economic and psychosocial effects the disease can impose on families, their friends and within our communities. NC2 works toward implementing the goals and objectives outlined in the Nebraska Cancer Plan.