Erie County Cancer Services Program screens uninsured and underinsured residents starting at age 45
Submitted by the Erie County Department of Health
The Erie County Cancer Services Program (CSP) is now offering free colorectal cancer screening for men and women ages 45 and older. People at average risk for colorectal cancer and who do not have health insurance may qualify.
This change comes after the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force lowered the recommended age for colorectal cancer screening for people at average risk from age 50 to age 45. National and New York state data show nine out of 10 of new colorectal cancer cases occur in adults ages 45 and older. Some people are at higher risk for colorectal cancer due to family history, symptoms, or because they have other bowel diseases. People at high risk may need to begin screening before age 45.
“This change makes more people eligible for our services, and we are glad to be able to announce this during Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month in March,” said Michelle Wysocki, Erie County CSP director. “Our program uses stool-based tests that are done in a private, convenient at-home setting and mailed to a lab. At-home testing is a great choice for many people, and these tests are safe and effective.”
Regular screening for colorectal cancer can save lives. Screening tests can find growths that can be removed before they turn into cancer. Screening tests can also find colorectal cancer early, when treatment may work best.
Data show that, among New Yorkers ages 50 to 75, about 30% are not up to date with colorectal cancer screening. Those who do not have insurance are even further behind, with about one-half not up to date with colorectal screening. In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic caused many people to delay colorectal and other cancer screenings.
“Cancer screening is an important part of maintaining your health and wellness,” Commissioner of Health Dr. Gale Burstein said. “Talk to your health care provider about on-time, regular cancer screenings, and your individual risk for colorectal cancer based on risk factors like family history. If you do not have health insurance or a health care provider, our program may be able to help you, so please call.”
The CSP offers free colorectal, cervical and breast cancer screening to eligible adults who do not have insurance. Costs for additional, necessary diagnostic tests may also be covered under a state program. Call 716-858-7376 to talk to the CSP outreach team to find out if you qualify for free cancer screening.
The Erie County Cancer Services Program provides breast, cervical and colorectal cancer screenings, and diagnostic services at no cost to adults who live in Erie County, do not have health insurance, have health insurance with a cost share that makes the cost of screening too high, and meet the program rules for age and income. Visit the Erie County Department of Health CSP at www.erie.gov/cancerservices or call 716-858-7376.
For more, visit the New York State Department of Health’s colorectal cancer page: https://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/cancer/colorectal/.