Health department offers cancer screening with flu shot

Shawnna Rhine, with S7HD, explains how to receive a free at-home FIT kit to screen for colorectal cancer.
Published: Nov. 23, 2022 at 6:08 AM CST|Updated: Nov. 23, 2022 at 9:07 AM CST
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ULLIN, Ill. (KFVS) - Southern Seven Health Department (S7HD) is offering a cancer screening kit in addition to getting a flu shot at one of their clinics.

The health department is offering a free at-home FIT kit to screen for colorectal cancer.

FIT stands for Fecal Immunochemical Test.

“Colon Cancer is almost 100 percent preventable if it’s caught early,” said S7HD Community Outreach Coordinator Shawnna Rhine.

S7HD recommends the test is for anyone 45 and older who hasn’t had a colonoscopy in 10 years.

“But if you are at high risk for colorectal cancer, let’s say a close family member had colon cancer, we do start you much earlier, even in your 20s,” said Rhine.

The health department also advises that the FIT is not meant to take the place of colonoscopy, but to be used as a comfortable option for patients to screen for colon cancer.

“What it does is detect blood in the stool and blood could be an indication that there is a colon polyp,” explained Rhine. “It can also be an indication of other things, such as hemorrhoids, diverticulitis, other types of conditions, but it’s a good starting point.”

Once a patient mails the test off to S7HD, a nurse at the Ullin location will run the sample through their lab with the results delivered quickly.

The tests have been made available through a partnership with Center for Asian Health Equity (CAHE).

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that people at average risk of colorectal cancer to start regular screening at age 45.

S7HD reports colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in men and third leading in women in the U.S.

“The lower seven counties in Illinois sits in one of the hot spots in the nation where we see a high incident of colorectal cancer, as well as colon deaths,” said Rhine.

For more information on FIT and how to get a test kit, contact S7HD at 618-634-2297 ext. 9161.

S7HD has several locations throughout their coverage area in Alexander, Hardin, Johnson, Massac, Pope, Pulaski and Union Counties.