News Release

Health Department of Northwest Michigan
serving Antrim, Charlevoix, Emmet, and Otsego Counties
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Free home test kits for colorectal cancer available at Health Department
March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

March is Colorectal Awareness Month and public health officials are speaking out with advice for consumers on this potentially life-threatening disease. “Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States, with over 56,000 people expected to die from this disease each year,” Joshua Meyerson, MD, Medical Director for the Health Department of Northwest Michigan explained. “However, it is a preventable and very curable disease if caught early.”

The Health Department offers free home test kits for men and women age 50 and over from Antrim, Charlevoix, Emmet, and Otsego counties who meet certain income guidelines.

Because there are often no symptoms when it is first developing, colorectal cancer can only be caught early through regular screening. “The benefits of early detection and treatment are dramatic,” Meyerson said. “The possibility of curing patients after symptoms develop is only 50%, but if colorectal cancer is found and treated at an early stage before symptoms develop, the opportunity to cure it is 80% or better.”

Meyerson notes that in addition to getting screened regularly for colorectal cancer, people can lower their risk of getting the disease by:

The Health Department is offering free test kits to eligible individuals ages 50- 64. For more information or to receive your free test kit call 1-800-432-4121.

The Health Department of Northwest Michigan is mandated by the Michigan Public Health Code to promote wellness, prevent disease, provide quality healthcare, address health problems of vulnerable populations, and protect the environment for the residents and visitors of Antrim, Charlevoix, Emmet, and Otsego counties.