Benefits of Take-Home Colon Cancer Screening Kits

colon cancer, colorectal cancer, colon cancer pickup screening kits, National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

Colorectal cancer is a sneaky disease with very few symptoms. That’s why take-home colon cancer screening kits can be a lifesaver to alert people to potential risk.


The fancy name for the take-home kits is fecal immunochemical test, which is considered the gold standard for detection of blood in the stool, one of the early signs of colorectal cancer. While collecting a stool sample to mail in can seem like a messy process, it is actually straightforward with clear instructions included in the kits.


The statistics are sobering.


“Colorectal cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer-related death in the United States,” said Tia Rapps, RN, and the community cancer education coordinator for Springfield Memorial Hospital’s Regional Cancer Center. “The approximate lifetime risk of developing colorectal cancer is about 1 in 23 for men and 1 in 25 for women. Diagnosis rates have been increasing for people younger than 55. That’s why early screening is so important.”


colon cancer, colon cancer screening kits, National Colon Cancer Awareness Month

March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. Free take-home screening tests for colon cancer will be distributed at several upcoming drive-thru events in Decatur, Lincoln, Springfield and Taylorville. The pickup kits are sponsored by the Regional Cancer Partnership, which includes Memorial Health, SIU School of Medicine, Springfield Clinic and HSHS St. John’s Hospital.


· 9 a.m. – noon, Tuesday, March 12, Lincoln Memorial Hospital Drive-Thru, 200 Stahlhut Drive, Lincoln

· 8 – 11 a.m. Thursday, March 14, Taylorville Memorial Hospital Drive-Thru, 201 E. Pleasant St., Taylorville.

· 3:30 – 5:30 p.m., Thursday, March 21, Memorial Drive-Thru Lab, 320 E. Carpenter St., Springfield

· 8 – 10 a.m. Friday, March 22, Crossing Healthcare Drive-Thru Clinic, 990 N. Water St., Decatur

· 4:30 – 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, March 26, St. John’s Pavilion Drive-Thru, 801 N. Eighth St., Springfield

· 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. and 3:30 – 5:30 p.m., Thursday, March 28, Simmons Cancer Institute Drive-Thru, 315 W. Carpenter St., Springfield


The take-home test does not replace a colonoscopy. Regularly scheduled screenings in the form of colonoscopies can prevent cancer from developing if precancerous polyps are detected and removed before they become cancer. Regular screenings can also find cancer in its earliest stages when it can be treated.


“While colonoscopies are vital, the kits are still an excellent and convenient first step to screen for the presence of blood in the stool,” Rapps said. “The kits are a proactive measure to prevent or find colorectal cancer early.”

 Survival rates for colon and rectum cancer are nearly 90 percent when the cancer is diagnosed before it has extended beyond the intestinal wall, according to “Illinois Facts and Figures,” published by the American Cancer Society.


For more information about area drive-thru pickups this month, visit