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Free colorectal screenings offered to north country communities

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Jefferson Community College, Kinney Drugs and Samaritan Medical Center will bring free colorectal screening opportunities to north country residents ages 50 and older.

Kinney Drugs purchased 5,000 fecal occult blood test kits, which will be available at 11 Kinney stores throughout the area until March 1.

According to a JCC news release, kits were given return labels and stamped by JCC students, faculty and staff and American Cancer Society volunteers. Testing and reporting of results will take place at Samaritan. JCC nursing students will help mail negative results, while positive results and unacceptable kits will be handled by Samaritan’s laboratory. Each kit comes with instructions. Completed kits should be sent for testing by April 15.

The program announcement came Saturday during the college’s sixth annual Super Science Saturday event, which featured a 20-foot inflatable colon that allowed people to walk through and learn about polyps, colon cancer, Crohn’s disease and food-borne illnesses. The exhibit was dedicated to the late Peter N. Gaskin, a former biology professor at the college who died of colon cancer in May 2011.

Patricia K. Jaacks, a JCC associate professor of biology, said she wanted to bring back the initiative, both in honor of Mr. Gaskin and to help educate residents about colorectal health.

Meanwhile, the American Cancer Society Eastern Division and Lewis County Public Health Cancer Services Program, which serves Jefferson and Lewis counties, were involved in the initiative, as they gave out screening kits and provided information about cancer, prevention and support services during Super Science Saturday.

This is the fourth time free colorectal screening has been offered, for a total 38,000 kits.

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