The Kentucky Colon Cancer Prevention Program works to reduce new cases of colon cancer and associated disability and death in partnership with state, regional and local health professionals. The program receives federal funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to administer Organized Approaches to Increase Colorectal Cancer Screening programs. The program also receives restricted state funding to implement the Kentucky Colon Cancer Screening Program.
Colon cancer starts in the colon and also is referred to as colorectal cancer as it often occurs along with rectal cancer.
Is Colon Cancer Preventable?
Regular colon cancer screenings beginning at age 50 are the most effective way to reduce your risk of colon cancer. In some cases, colon cancer can be stopped before it starts.
Colon cancers almost always develop from abnormal growths known as polyps in the colon or rectum. Screening tests find polyps so they can be removed before they change into cancer. Treatment works best and the chance for a full recovery is very high when colon cancer is found early.
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Screening Fact Sheet for Patients
Screening Fact Sheet for Professionals
Polyps are growths on the inner wall of the colon or rectum. They are common in people older than 50. Most polyps are benign (not cancerous), but some polyps (adenomas) can become cancer. Finding and removing polyps may reduce the risk of colorectal cancer.
Picture of Polyps
The risk of developing colorectal cancer increases with age. Screening tests for colorectal cancer should begin at age 50 and continue at regular intervals or at the recommendation of your health care provider. However, you may need to be tested earlier or more often if your risk factors include:
- Inflammatory bowel disease, such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease
- Certain hereditary syndromes
- A personal or family history of colorectal polyps or colorectal cancer
Colorectal cancer first develops with very few or no symptoms over a period of years. This is why screening and early detection are so important.
Symptoms, when they appear, may include:
- Blood in the bowel movement
- A change in bowel habits
- Stools that are narrower than usual
- General unexplained stomach discomfort
- Frequent gas, pain or indigestion
- Unexplained weight loss
- Chronic fatigue
These symptoms also can be related to other health issues. Make an appointment to see a doctor if you have any of these symptoms.
Healthy Choices and Lifestyle Factors
Recent studies indicate that certain lifestyle choices may increase your risk of colon cancer. Although screening is the best way to decrease your risk of colon cancer, you also can improve your overall health and decrease your risk if you:
- Eat more fruits and vegetables each day
- Eat less fatty foods such as lean meats (turkey, chicken, and fish
- Drink less or no alcohol
- Don't smoke or chew tobacco
- Get regular physical exercise
Kentucky Colon Cancer Screening Program
The Kentucky Colon Cancer Screening Program was formed by passage of KRS 214.540-544 in 2008 to increase awareness of and education about screening for colorectal cancer. With future funding, screening programs will be developed for eligible Kentucky residents.
Kentucky Colon Cancer Screening Advisory Committee
Members represent key organizations and populations affected by colon cancer in Kentucky. The function of the advisory committee is to provide oversight to the Kentucky Colon Cancer Screening Program and report annually to the Kentucky legislature.
- KRS 304.17A-257 - Coverage under health benefit plan for colorectal cancer examinations and laboratory tests
- KRS 214.540 - Definitions, establishment and limitation of Colon Cancer Screening Program
- KRS 214.542 - Eligibility for Colon Cancer Screening Program, services provided, funding, data collection, administrative regulations
- KRS 214.543 - Kentucky Colon Cancer Screening Program Fund
- KRS 214.544 - Colon Cancer Screening Advisory Committee, membership, duties, annual report, colon cancer screening, education, and outreach programs.
- 902 KAR 21:020 - Kentucky Colon Cancer Screening Program