San Diego – San Diegans can take the first step to help identify their risk for colorectal cancer from the privacy of their own home by participating in a new community screening program being offered by Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla.
The Scripps colorectal cancer screening program is available to residents throughout San Diego County, regardless of where they receive their care. The program allows participants to receive a package in the mail, including educational materials and a secure bottle for collecting a small stool sample for a fecal occult blood test. Scripps provides a stamped, pre-addressed envelope for participants to promptly return their samples for laboratory analysis at Scripps.
“Colorectal cancer is among the most common and deadliest forms of cancer, but it is also one of the most preventable if caught early,” said Kim Roberts, director of community and program development for Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla. “This kit is designed to get people thinking about the need for regular screening, and other ways they can help reduce their risk for developing the disease.”
Colorectal Cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States, totaling approximately 50,000 deaths in 2008. The American Cancer Society estimates that about half of the U.S. population forgoes their recommended colonoscopy screenings, perhaps due to feelings of “squeamishness.” But last year for the first time ever, a set of joint-consensus guidelines for colorectal cancer screenings were established, providing a broad range of less-invasive screening options.
For those with no family history of colorectal cancer, a variety of screening options are recommended for adults starting at age 50. Some of these include:
- Fecal occult blood tests every year
- Minimally invasive CT colonography every five years
- Invasive colonoscopy every 10 years
Individuals should consult with their physicians to determine the most appropriate screening options and frequency. And the ACS recommends that most options that show positive results should be followed by an invasive colonoscopy.
Residents can order a home testing kit by calling 1-800-SCRIPPS. Cost to participants is $25 for lab analysis. The program may be particularly appealing to people who are uninsured or who have high insurance deductibles. Typically, a fecal occult blood test can cost five times what Scripps is charging as part of this program.
With more than 300 affiliated physicians with expertise in 22 different specialties, Scripps Cancer Center is a nationally recognized leader in cancer care and research. It is the first multi-hospital cancer program in California to earn network accreditation from the American College of Surgeons’ Commission on Cancer.
Since 1975, Scripps has treated more than 97,000 cancer patients, with approximately one in three newly diagnosed cancer patients in San Diego choosing Scripps Cancer Center for their care. Scripps Cancer Center seeks to provide the best possible treatment and cutting-edge research trials for patients by coordinating medical expertise in the areas of clinical cancer care, community outreach and clinical, translational and basic research.
Founded in 1924 by philanthropist Ellen Browning Scripps, Scripps Health is a $2 billion nonprofit community health system based in San Diego, Calif. Scripps treats a half-million patients annually through the dedication of 2,600 affiliated physicians and 12,700 employees among its five acute-care hospital campuses, 18 outpatient centers and home health care services.
Recognized as a leader in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of disease, Scripps is also at the forefront of clinical research and graduate medical education.