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Penn State Cancer Institute Office for Cancer Health Equity and Harrisburg Health Office Partnership Offer Free Colorectal Cancer Screening to Harrisburg Residents 45-75 Years of Age

HARRISBURG – Colorectal cancer cases are increasing in people younger than 50, and recent recommendations suggest screening exams start earlier. The American Cancer Society and others have lowered the screening age—making 45 the new 50 for preventing colorectal cancer. If detected early, colorectal cancer is one of the most preventable diseases.

On October 6, the City of Harrisburg Health Office and the Penn State Cancer Institute Office for Health Equity will host a free colorectal cancer screening and education event in the Martin Luther King Building lobby, located at 10 North 2nd Street in Harrisburg. The outreach event will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and is free and open to the public.

The initiative, Secure Colorectal Cancer Screening Options Prevent and Educate (SCOPE), will provide average risk individuals 45-75 years of age with FITKITS—free, at-home, easy to use, non-invasive fecal test kits.

“Caught in the early stage, colorectal cancer is 90% curable,” said Eugene J. Lengerich, associate director of health disparities and engagement, Penn State Cancer Institute. “Together, we can conquer cancer. We are extremely excited about this partnership with the City of Harrisburg. Our mission is to reduce the cancer burden and disparities in central Pennsylvania.”

Colorectal cancer disproportionally affects African Americans, who tend to test later and have more advanced stages of the disease. According to the American Cancer Society, Black Americans have the highest colorectal cancer incidence and mortality rates of all racial groups in the U.S. and a 20 percent higher likelihood of getting colorectal cancer and a 40 percent death rate.

Harrisburg Health Officer Nelva Wright expressed the importance of education and outreach in the Harrisburg community. “After much collaboration and hard work, having Penn State Cancer Institute’s community health workers on-site to enhance the educational experience will be so beneficial. We hope this is the first of many outreach efforts.”

“Forty-five is really the new 50 when it comes to Colorectal Cancer Screening, this screening is an easy way to protect your health,” said Wright.

For more information, contact Lorna LeMelle at 717.756.3955