Maine CDC Press Release

March 1, 2010

Maine CDC Launches Free Colon Screening for Uninsured

For more information, please contact:
Dora Anne Mills, MD, MPH, FAAP
Maine CDC Director
Andrea Fletcher, MS
Public Health Educator, Maine CDC
(207) 287-4321

AUGUSTA – The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Maine CDC), in the Department of Health and Human Services is now providing no-cost screening and follow-up for colorectal cancer for eligible Mainers as of today (March 1).

Maine recently received a 5-year federal grant from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to provide colorectal cancer screening services for eligible people aged 50 and older, who are underinsured or uninsured, and who earn less than 250% of federal income guidelines. The funds will also be used for public education and evaluation of the efforts.

“Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths among men and women age 50 years and older both in Maine and the nation. Almost 900 people are diagnosed with colorectal cancer every year in Maine, and about one-third of them die,” said Dr. Dora Anne Mills, Director of the Maine CDC. “Yet, 90% of these deaths are preventable with appropriate screening and follow-up starting at age 50.”

One of the challenges is that the most common symptoms of colorectal cancer are no symptoms. Therefore, screening is a critical tool to save lives,” added Dr. Mills. “We’re very glad to offer colorectal screening to as many Mainers as possible through this new initiative.”

Maine CDC has partnered with 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, Medical Care Development, and other Maine CDC programs, among many others, to implement this program and provide services and education to all Mainers regardless of geographic location.

Eligibility criteria for receiving no-cost screening and follow-up services through the new initiative include both financial and clinical considerations. For more information, or to find out if you are eligible for these services, call the Colorectal Screening Hotline at 1-877-320-6800.