Over the past six years, Lafayette General Endoscopy Center (LGEC) has contributed to a rise in colorectal testing in Acadiana by providing free home colorectal screening kits that test for the risks of colon cancer. Once again during March, Colon Cancer Awareness Month, the kits are being provided and LGEC encourages consumers to take the “Test for Life.”
Pick one up at any one of the 18 Acadiana Walgreens stores. It’s an easy, hands-free test that checks for unseen blood in the stool, which can be an indication of other problems. Simply mail the kit, and its readings, back to LGEC and the results are reported back to you.
Now in its seventh year, the program has grown from its first distribution of 100 kits to last year’s impressive count of 2,800.
Marsha Williamson, RN, nurse administrator at LGEC, spearheads the program, which began in 2008. “Although the test kit cannot replace a colonoscopy, it’s a good check for people under 50 with no family history of colon cancer, for those who have not had a colonoscopy and for those who have had one and are not due for another for 10 years,” she says. Williamson credits Walgreens and District Manager Lee Jones for helping bring the campaign to new levels by organizing distribution and providing ongoing publicity during the month. Other keys sponsors are KLFY TV 10 and Lowry’s Printing.
As part of the campaign, each physician at LGEC is giving away a free colonoscopy in a drawing. Winners get the colonoscopy, which includes physician and facility fees, anesthesia and any pathology services.