Gov. Ricketts Encourages Nebraskans to Get Screened Following Colonoscopy
Taylor Gage, Governor’s Office, 402-471-1970
Leah Bucco-White, DHHS, 402-471-9356
Nebraskans are encouraged to return colon cancer screening kits.
OMAHA – Following a colonoscopy earlier today in Omaha, Governor Pete Ricketts encouraged Nebraskans to get screened for colon cancer.
“Preventive screenings play a critical role in our overall health, quality of life and longevity,” said Governor Ricketts. “I encourage individuals over 50 to get a colon cancer screening. As they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and that’s why I encourage Nebraskans to fight colon cancer with screenings that help detect early cancers.”
In March, the Governor was joined by the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) at a news conference urging Nebraskans over the age of 50 to get screened for colon cancer as part of Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death for Nebraskans.
Colon cancer screening is one of the best cancer screenings in terms of prevention, early detection, and intervention. One type of screening is an in home stool testing kit known as an FOBT or FIT kit. More than 7,000 kits were requested from the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services’ Colon Cancer Screening Program during March. As of now, only 42 percent of those kits have been returned which means some cancer may go undetected.
“Getting screened can save your life,” said Courtney Phillips, Chief Executive Officer for DHHS. “The best screening is the one that gets done, so please do the test and return your kit if you’ve received one.”
If you have questions about how to complete your test, call the Nebraska Colon Cancer Screening Program at 1-800-532-2227. Nebraska ranks 37th out of 50 states in screening for colon cancer. Colon cancer is preventable, treatable, and beatable and that’s why completing a regular screening test is important. Colon cancer screening can find precancerous growths which can be removed before turning into cancer. Screening can also find colorectal cancer at an early stage, when treatment often leads to a cure.
In addition to in home testing kits, there are other types of screening tests including:
- Sigmoidoscopy - Scope done of the lower two thirds of the colon to look for polyps and remove them. Done every five years.
- Colonoscopy - Scope of the entire colon to look for polyps and remove them. Done every 10 years.
If you’re 50 years or older and haven’t received a colon cancer screening, talk to your health care provider about which one is right for you.
For people who are uninsured, the Nebraska Colon Cancer Screening Program offers in home stool testing kits and financial assistance for a colonoscopy through a medical provider if needed.
Program guidelines include:
- Must be 50-74 years of age without health insurance that would pay for preventive services.
- Must be a citizen or legal resident of Nebraska
- Be at or below 225% of Federal Poverty Guidelines (i.e. a family of four can make up to $54,562)
Besides screening, there are other steps you can take to reduce the risk of colon cancer: Be active, eat healthy foods, and quit smoking.
DHHS continues to work with statewide partners to increase screening for colon cancer. Multiple organizations are moving forward with initiatives to increase screening across the state and have come together with a common goal of reaching 80 percent screened by 2018. Additional information on colon cancer can be found by visiting www.dhhs.ne.gov/crc or call the Nebraska Colon Cancer Screening Program at 1-800-532-2227.