Colorectal Cancer Control Program
Colon Screening Hotline
In Maine’s total population, colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of new cancer cases and deaths. In 2009, almost 900 Mainers were diagnosed with colorectal cancer, and approximately 260 died from this disease.
The term “cancer” describes a group of diseases characterized by the unneeded growth and multiplication of abnormal, or damaged, cells.
Every cell in a person’s body has its own life cycle. Each cell will grow, divide, and die when it becomes old or damaged. These cells are then replaced with new cells and the cycle continues. This is the body’s way of keeping itself healthy. However, sometimes a cell becomes so damaged that it does not die when it should, and this controlled pattern is broken. These damaged cells continue to grow and multiply at their own rate even though the body does not need them. This is how a tumor is formed. Not all tumors are harmful, but some tumors can spread to nearby tissues and even other organs. These tumors are known as malignant, or cancerous, tumors.
Your colon is the long, tube-like organ (also known as the large intestine) that helps your body digest food. A healthy colon takes the water out of the food you eat, and leaves a solid waste that your body gets rid of through the rectum and anus. If you could stretch out the colon, it would be about 6 feet long. Cancers are named for the part of the body in which they start to grow. Colon cancer is a cancer that grows in the colon. This kind of cancer starts as a polyp, or small collection of abnormal cells. Polyps do not cause any symptoms for a person.
Yes. The good news is that polyps can be found and removed before they turn into cancer. A colonoscopy is an exam in which a doctor looks inside the colon with a long, flexible and lighted tube called a colonoscope. During a colonoscpy, a doctor may collect samples of tissue or cells for closer examination. This is also when a doctor can remove polyps to prevent colon cancer!
Most people begin getting screened for colon cancer when they turn 50 years old. However, if you have a personal or family history of colon health problems, you might need to be screened sooner. If you are near age 50 and have never been screened for colon cancer, you should talk to your doctor about this important test.
The Maine Colorectal Cancer Control Program hopes to lessen the number of Mainers that are diagnosed with, or die from, colorectal cancer each year. The program focuses on helping all Mainers understand how important it is to be screened for colon cancer when they are age 50 and older, providing no-cost screening services for Mainers who do not have health insurance (or who have health insurance that does not pay for the costs of this important test), and connecting Mainers with the resources they need to prevent, detect, and survive colon cancer.
The Maine Colorectal Cancer Control Program is paid for through a grant from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Maine is one of only 26 states and tribal organizations to receive this funding.
This program is offered by the Maine Comprehensive Cancer Control Program , Maine CDC, in partnership with Medical Care Development, the American Cancer Society, Central Maine HealthCare Corporation, Eastern Maine Health System, the Healthy Maine Partnership, the Maine Cancer Consortium, the Maine Cancer Registry, MaineGeneral Medical Center, MaineHealth, Maine Primary Care Association, Maine’s tribal communities, and other Maine CDC programs, among numerous other organizations statewide.
The Maine Colorectal Cancer Control Program has a few simple eligibility guidelines including age, income, insurance status, and health history. To qualify, a person must be age 50 or older, have no insurance (or insurance that does not cover the cost of a colon cancer screening test), and report an income less than 250% of the Federal Poverty Level.
2012 Federal Poverty Level Guidelines
|For each additional person, add||$3,960||$5,267||$5,940||$7,920|
New Health Insurance Opportunities:
There is a new way to obtain health insurance beginning January 1, 2014 through the Affordable Care Act called the Health Insurance Marketplace at Healthcare.gov. Enrollment in the federal Health Insurance Marketplace began on October 1, 2013 for health coverage to take effect on January 1, 2014. You can call 24 hours a day toll-free at 1-800-318-2596 and hearing impaired callers using TTY/TDD technology can dial 1-855-889-4325 for assistance. You can hear more about open enrollment, insurance options available, preventive/wellness benefits, and insurance costs. in addition, by entering your zip code or town at LocalHelp.Healthcare.gov you can find personal help applying for health coverage.
If you think you, a family member or friend might be eligible to receive services through this program, please call the Colon Screening Hotline at 1-877-320-6800. You will be directly connected to a program coordinator who can best help you understand the program in your local area.