Free Colon Cancer Screening Kits Available from Regional West Community Health

SCOTTSBLUFF, Neb., – In recognition of Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, Regional West Community Health, in partnership with the Scotts Bluff County Health Department, will give away free colon cancer screening kits during March. The Fecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT) kits are available free of charge to Scotts Bluff County residents ages 50 to 75 and to any Nebraska resident with a close relative that has had colon cancer.

“Colon cancer is curable if caught early. It is important to get your screening,” said Armando Magana, MD, Regional West Physicians Clinic-Internal Medicine. “It’s the third leading cause of death in men and fourth leading cause of death in women.”

Colon cancer often starts with no symptoms. Screening can reveal the presence of microscopic or invisible blood in the stool, or feces. This blood can be a sign of a problem in your digestive system, such as a growth, or polyp, or cancer in the colon or rectum. This early detection may prevent polyps from becoming cancerous and may jumpstart early treatment, when it is most effective. When colorectal cancer is found early and treated, the five-year survival rate is 85 to 90 percent.

“Getting a colorectal cancer screening test could save your life,” said Deb Keener, RN, Regional West Community Health. “The ‘gold standard’ is a colonoscopy at age 50. The Centers for Disease Control recommends having a FOBT once a year on the years you are not due for a colonoscopy.”

Keener explained that the FOBT is performed in the privacy of one’s own home. By following instructions included in the kits, individuals obtain a stool sample and then return the sample to the lab where it is checked for blood.

“Colorectal cancer is the second leading cancer killer in the United States,” said Keener. “That’s a scary statistic and it’s one of the reasons why we are offering free colon cancer screening kits during the month of March as a part of Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month.”

Enrollment forms for FOBT home testing kits and information about colorectal cancer are available by contacting Keener at 308-630-1580 or by calling 308-436-6636. Additional information about the Nebraska Colon Cancer Screening Program through the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services is available from the Nebraska Colon Cancer Screening Program at 1-800-532-2227 or

Regional West Health Services in Scottsbluff, Neb., is the parent company of Regional West Medical Center, a 182-bed regional referral center and one of three Level II Trauma Centers in the state. As the region’s only tertiary referral medical center, Regional West offers care that spans more than 32 medical specialties provided by over 28 physician clinics. With nearly 300 providers, and over 2,000 employees, Regional West provides comprehensive and innovative health care services for the people of western Nebraska and the neighboring states of Colorado, South Dakota, and Wyoming.