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FIT Test Can Save a Life

FIT Test Can Save a Life

A simple test can save your life, and no one knows that more than Kim Maycock. A local chiropractor, Kim knows the importance of preventive health, but wasn’t excited about having a colonoscopy that is recommended for all adults older than 50.

“Being in the health care industry, I’m aware of the importance of preventive type approaches,” Kim said. “I’m also aging and knew at the age of 50 it’s in the best interest of people to have a colonoscopy.”

Even knowing the risks and the importance of screenings, Kim still couldn’t convince herself to schedule a colonoscopy. Then she heard about the FIT (fecal immunochemical test) kits that the Heptner Cancer Center at Campbell County Memorial Hospital (CCMH) is offering for free and decided to check into it.

“I thought it would be a cool thing if I did the test and it came back negative and I avoided the time and expense of the colonoscopy,” Kim said. “The instructions were really easy to understand. It was very easy – it took me 90 seconds to collect the specimen.”

Within a week after mailing in the specimen, Kim learned that all was not well after there was blood found in the sample. With those results, Kim was encouraged to have a colonoscopy done, which she did just a few weeks later. During the colonoscopy, a polyp was found and removed, and many times those can become cancerous over time.

Just in time for Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month in March, Kim has a clean bill of health.

However, more than 50,000 Americans die of colon cancer each year, and colorectal cancer rates in people younger than 50 have been increasing. While having a colonoscopy every 10 years is recommended for everyone older than 50, the simple, non-invasive FIT test detects hidden blood in the stool and can easily be completed in the comfort of your own home once a year. Like in Kim’s case, if the test comes back positive, a colonoscopy is performed.

“There are a lot of people missing that screening stage,” said Kim Nelson, the Wyoming Cancer Resource Coordinator for Region 2., “A lot of people say they are afraid of having a colonoscopy. The FIT kit is a simple test. It’s not difficult at all. It provides step by step directions.”

Kim Nelson works at the Cancer Resource Center in the Heptner Cancer Center. Kim visits with patients one-on-one at the Center to help them learn about their specific cancer and how to navigate choices and treatments, and gain access to cancer screenings, wigs, books, education materials, gas cards for travel to out-of-town cancer treatments, and much more.

Campbell County Health (CCH) is a partner of the American Cancer Society’s National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable, and as such is helping to increase screening and awareness about colorectal cancer. As part of the roundtable, CCH has committed to helping the state reach the goal of having 80 percent of the state’s over 50 population screened by 2018. Part of that is providing free FIT tests, purchased by the Wyoming Department of Health, with funding from the American Cancer Society. A FIT kit is not a replacement for a colonoscopy but is a safe, easy method of screening as a supplement to a colonoscopy.

Studies estimate that early screening can prevent roughly 39,700 new cases of colorectal cancer and 37,200 deaths by 2030.

For Kim Maycock, the simple FIT kit is something that she believes can save members of the community lots of money and time. And, it likely saved her life.

“I’m thankful for being made aware of this FIT test,” Kim Maycock said. “I’m glad I did it. I avoided a potential cancer situation.”

CCH FIT Kit Test Heptner Cancer Center Gillette, WyomingDo you qualify for a FIT Screening? Check out these qualifications:

Men and women age 50-75 who:

  • Have not had a colonoscopy in the last 10 years.
  • Have not had a stool test (FIT screening) in the last year.
  • Have no history of bleeding ulcers or hernias.

Call 888-684-4550 to schedule an appointment to pick up a FIT kit, or visit the Cancer Resource Center in the Heptner Cancer Center at CCMH, 501 S. Burma Avenue, Gillette, Wyoming. Download a brochure about the FIT kit test here.

Learn more about services available at the Heptner Cancer Center at www.cchwyo.org/cancercare.

Article written by Kim Phagan-Hansel, Wyoming freelance writer