Physicians from Simmons Cancer Institute (SCI) at SIU Medicine will provide free cancer screenings at Hillsboro Area Hospital (HAH), 1200 East Tremont in Hillsboro on Saturday, March 24, from 9 a.m. to noon.
“Finding cancer at its earliest stage is the key to beating the disease,” said Aziz Khan, MD, executive director of SCI and chief of hematology/oncology at SIU Medicine. “Screenings are the first step.” Supplies and promotion for the free event is funded through the Montgomery County Cancer Association.
The event will include three screenings: head and neck cancer, skin cancer and take home tests for colorectal cancer. Physicians will also provide information about testing for lung cancer. Healthy eating tips, samples, information on radon testing and other types of cancer will be available.
Appointments are required for the free skin cancer screenings and can be made by calling the Hillsboro Specialty Clinic at 217-532-6266. Individuals interested in skin cancer screenings should be at least 18 years of age and not currently under the care of a dermatologist. Full body exams or spot checks are available.
Screenings for oral cancer, also known as head and neck cancer, take just a few minutes. The physician will ask about potential risk factors and look for cancer that affects the ears, nose, mouth, throat, voice box, neck and thyroid gland.
People who use tobacco or consume alcohol regularly are at higher risk for an oral cancer. Warning signs for head and neck cancers include: persistent earache or sore throat, difficulty or pain with swallowing, hoarseness lasting more than one month, an ulcer in the mouth or throat that does not heal, or a lump in the neck or thyroid gland.
Home test kits for colorectal cancer, better known as FIT kits (Fecal Immunochemical Tests), can detect blood in the stool, an indicator of several different medical conditions. The home screening is recommended for individuals age 50 and older, people who have a history of colorectal polyps, inflammatory bowel disease, a diet high in processed food and/or red meat, or those who smoke, are obese or abuse alcohol.
FIT kits do not substitute for a colonoscopy, which is the best method to detect colorectal cancer. Regularly scheduled screenings in the form of colonoscopies can prevent cancer from developing if precancerous polyps are detected and removed before they become cancer. Regular screenings can also find cancer in its earliest stages when it can be treated.
A short consent form is required to pick up the home screening kit. After completing the kit at home, individuals will mail it back in a provided pre-addressed envelope. Individuals will receive a letter notifying them of their results.
The mission of Simmons Cancer Institute at SIU
is to serve the people of central and southern Illinois by addressing their present and future cancer needs through education, research, patient care and community service.
Cindy Davidsmeyer, SCI, 217-545-3837
Rosanne Heck, HAH, 217-532-4320