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OVHC offers free colorectal cancer screening

INFORMATION REVIEWED — Patient Holly Carmine of Steubenville, left, reviews colorectal cancer screening instructions with Nurse Practitioner Laura Crimm at the Ohio Valley Health Center, located at 423 South St., Steubenville. -- Contributed

STEUBENVILLE — The Ohio Valley Health Center, located at 423 South St., Steubenville, is offering a free colorectal cancer screening program to individuals who are either uninsured or underinsured.

The announcement was made by Ann Quillen, the health center’s executive director.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, colorectal cancer, as of 2020, is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States.

If detected early, however, the five-year survival is 90 percent. Individuals who are 50 to 75 years old and have no family history of colorectal cancer are deemed to be at average risk for the disease and should be screened, Quillen explained.

The frequency of the screening depends upon the type of colorectal cancer screening method they utilize. Their health care provider will be able to offer guidance on the frequency of the screening, she added.

Quillen said Laura Crimm is a family nurse practitioner who brought the idea of piloting the free colorectal cancer screening program to the Ohio Valley Health Center.

“Our goal at the Ohio Valley Health Center is to offer programs to our patients to improve their health,” Crimm said. “The colorectal cancer screening program is one of the ways we are working to achieve that goal.”

The program utilizes a screening method that is easy to use and can be completed at home, according to Crimm.

The Fecal Immunochemical Test screening — F.I.T. — is the method that the health center is offering. The screening requires no diet restrictions, bowel preparation or missed days from work. The F.I.T. test kit will detect human blood in the stool sample. Blood in the stool can be a sign of colorectal cancer.

At the appointment, the Ohio Valley Health Center provider will give the patient a kit to take home. In the comfort and privacy of their home, the patient will place a sample of their stool on a card that is then sealed in an envelope and returned to the health center, which will then notify the patient of their results.

If the screening test detects blood in the sample, the patient will be notified, and follow-up care and further testing will be scheduled.

The screening program is ongoing, and participants receive a $15 Wal-Mart card when they return the test card.

Just as a mammogram saves lives by early detection of breast cancer, colorectal cancer screening saves lives with early detection of colon or rectal cancer, Quillen emphasized.

To schedule a F.I.T. appointment, contact the health center at (740) 283-2856.

The Ohio Valley Health Center provides high-quality health care to uninsured and underinsured individuals and families in the Ohio Valley, regardless of their ability to pay, according to Quillen.

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