The scenic cataracts of Niagara Falls will be lit up in blue March 1-7 to support "Go Blue," a state and national effort to raise awareness about colorectal cancer.
Colorectal cancer - cancer that begins in the colon or rectum - is one of the most common cancers among New Yorkers. It is estimated that one in 20 people will develop colorectal cancer. Nearly 10,000 new cases of colorectal cancer are diagnosed each year in New York; more than 3,000 men and women die from the disease annually.
Colorectal cancer often can be prevented. Regular screening can find precancerous polyps in the colon or rectum so they can be removed before they turn into cancer.
However, a large number of New Yorkers are still not aware of their risk and many are not being screened at the recommended times.
"All men and women age 50 and older should get screened for colorectal cancer," said Renae Kimble, coordinator of the Niagara County Cancer Services Program, a service of Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center. "Although this disease can occur at any age, most people who develop colorectal cancer are over age 50."
All health insurance plans cover colorectal cancer screening with no patient copayment or deductible, including those plans that participate in the New York State of Health. The Niagara County Cancer Services Program, one of many such programs offered across New York by the state Department of Health, works with 48 service providers across the county to offer colorectal cancer screening to eligible women and men who lack insurance coverage.
Beginning March 4, the Niagara County Cancer Services program will join the American Cancer Society to promote "Main Streets Go Blue" by displaying blue ribbons along Pine Avenue in Niagara Falls and by working with local businesses to promote colorectal cancer awareness and arrange screenings for men and women age 50 and older who do not have health insurance.
For information on eligibility and screening referrals, contact the Niagara County Services Program at 716-278-4898 or call toll-free referral line at 1-866-442-CANCER (2262).