Palmesano Kicking Off “Go Blue” Cancer Awareness

Assemblyman Phil Palmesano will help kick off the “Go Blue” campaign for Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, sponsored by the Steuben County Cancer Services Program, at 10 a.m. Friday, March 2 in Pulteney Square Park, Bath. He will be cutting a blue ribbon officially opening the Main Street’s “Go Blue” event during which various businesses on Liberty and Steuben streets will be displaying “Go Blue” materials in support of the Cancer Services Program’s goal to educate the public about the importance of colorectal cancer screenings.

The cancer services staff also will be available in the old Bath Florist building at 29 Liberty Street from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday, March 2, and again on Thursday, March 15 for anyone to come in and ask questions about the program and enroll if they are eligible.

The New York State Department of Health’s Cancer Services Program Partnerships offer colorectal cancer screenings to eligible uninsured women and men in every county and borough in New York.

March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month and March 2 is National Dress in Blue Day. Towns across New York state are raising awareness about this preventable cancer by turning their Main Streets blue and hosting colorectal cancer screening events throughout March, according to Bobbi Gunn, outreach coordinator for the local Cancer Services Program.

Colorectal cancer - cancer that begins in the colon or rectum - is one of the most common cancers among New Yorkers, she noted. It is estimated that one in 20 people will develop colorectal cancer during their lifetime. “Each year in New York state, more than 10,000 people develop cancer of the colon and rectum, and nearly 3,500 New Yorkers die from this disease,” Gunn said. However, a large number of New Yorkers still are not aware of their risk, and many are not being screened at recommended intervals, she added, and colorectal cancer often can be prevented. Regular screening can find precancerous polyps so they can be removed before they turn into cancer. All men and women age 50 and older need to get screened for colorectal cancer.

“Although this disease can occur at any age, most people who develop colorectal cancer are over age 50. In addition, people with a personal or family history of colon polyps (abnormal growths in the colon or rectum) or colon cancer, or a personal history of inflammatory bowel disease, are at higher risk for developing colorectal cancer. People at higher risk for colorectal cancer may need earlier or more frequent tests than other people; these individuals should talk to their doctor about when to begin screening and how often they should be tested,” says Gunn.

For questions and further information, please call the Cancer Services Program at 607-324-8690, or toll free 1-877-778-6857.