Tampa, Florida -- Chances are you or someone you love is not up to date on getting screened for colon cancer.
One in three people who are between the ages of 50 and 75 are not, but a new Bay area study aims to change that.
"There are a variety of barriers that prevents people from getting screened. Some of them are personal preferences, cultural... some of them are lack of access to screening tests and sometimes lack of awareness," Moffitt Cancer Center Dr. Clemente Gwede said.
March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month, so what better time to get the word out? Increasing Access to Colorectal Cancer Testing for Blacks (I-ACT) is a study that is looking for volunteers to take a home test.
"They'll mail this sample back ... very simple to collect, they put it in and mail it back to the cancer center, to my lab," Dr. Gwede said.
He added screening alone can avoid 60 percent of colon cancer deaths.
"We can prevent it, we can detect it early and it's treatable."
But there's a large gap in getting tested.
"We look back when there were no tests for colorectal cancer screening. Blacks and whites were equally getting cancer at comparable rates. As the tests become more available, we see a gap where whites are doing much better in preventing cancer and not dying from it. "
Moffitt Cancer Center is looking for 500 African Americans to take part. So far they have less than half that, and already they've had 10 abnormal tests; one of those came back positive for colorectal cancer. That person is now undergoing treatment.
"We have had an immediate benefit among individuals who weren't thinking about colon cancer who joined the study and got interested in doing something about it. So this study could help benefit your life and the community in general."
You need to call (813) 745- 6502 to enroll in the I-ACT study.
Moffitt is also hosting a couple of upcoming health events. You can check out the 14th Annual Men's Health Form on Saturday, March 8 from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the University fo South Florida's Marshall Student Center.
There's also Ask the Experts: Colorectal Cancer on Saturday, March 29 at 9 a.m. Registration is required for that event at Moffitt Cancer Center.
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