The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention is providing free screening and followup for colorectal cancer for eligible Mainers who are 50 or older.

Maine recently received a five-year federal grant from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to pay for the new service and public education efforts. Along with being 50 or older, participants must be underinsured or uninsured and earn less than 250 percent of federal income guidelines. 

“Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths among men and women age 50 years and older both in Maine and the nation. Almost 900 people are diagnosed with colorectal cancer every year in Maine, and about one-third of them die,” Dr. Dora Anne Mills, director of the Maine CDC, said in the written announcement. “Yet, 90 percent of these deaths are preventable with appropriate screening and followup starting at age 50.”

Because there are often no symptoms of colorectal cancer, screening is a critical tool to save lives, Mills said.

Maine CDC is working with the American Cancer Society as well as hospitals and health organizations across the state to implement the program. For more information, or to find out if you are eligible for these services, call the Colorectal Screening Hotline at 1-877-320-6800.

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