Reminder for Residents to Take Advantage of Free Colon Screenings
In recognition of National Colon Cancer Awareness Month, Baltimore County Executive Jim Smith and Health Officer, Dr. Pierre Vigilance held a press conference on Monday, March 5, 2007 at 11 a.m. at the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Cancer Institute at Franklin Square to remind Baltimore County residents aged 50 and older that the Baltimore County Department of Health offers free colonoscopies to those who are uninsured or underinsured and meet income eligibility guidelines. Those with a family history of colon cancer or polyps may qualify before age 50.
Colorectal cancer, also called colon cancer for short, is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in Maryland. Colon cancer is cancer that occurs in the colon and rectum. Although it often develops with no symptoms at first, colon cancer is curable when detected in its early stages. Both men and women can get colon cancer and the risk for acquiring it increases with age. Your risks for colon cancer may be higher than average if:
- You or a close relative have had colon polyps or colon cancer.
- You have inflammatory bowel disease.
"I am pleased that the County Department of Health offers free screenings service to eligible residents; however, I encourage all residents to take the appropriate measures to protect themselves and their loved ones from this disease," said County Executive Jim Smith.
"Screening remains the most valuable form of protection against this disease," said Dr. Vigilance.