For years, Jack Stout of rural Casey was reluctant to have a colonoscopy.
“I wasn’t having any problems, so it wasn’t a priority,” he said. However, after suffering several health setbacks starting in 2017, Stout wasn’t so quick to brush off his wife and daughter who had been on him for years to get screened for colon cancer. They convinced him to pick up a free in-home colon cancer screening kit at Sarah Bush Lincoln’s Toledo Clinic in 2019.
Stout, his wife, Jolena, and their daughter all submitted screening tests. Jack and Jolena were surprised when they received a call saying that they both had blood in their stools. The couple was strongly encouraged to have further testing, so Mr. Stout scheduled his first colonoscopy at the age of 73, and Mrs. Stout scheduled her third colonoscopy at Sarah Bush Lincoln’s Gastroenterology Clinic before it typically would have been repeated.
During Mrs. Stout’s procedure, she had five non-cancerous polyps removed. During Mr. Stout’s procedure, three polyps were removed, including one large polyp that was precancerous. “I was surprised. I didn’t think there would be anything wrong,” he said. “If I would have let it go one more year, it might have been too late.”
The couple urges people to take advantage of free screenings offered by Sarah Bush Lincoln. A limited number of free Hemosure colon cancer screens are available on a first-come first-served basis from 11 am to 1 pm on the following dates:
March 6 – SBL Tuscola Clinic
March 13 – Mattoon Rural King (interior Cross County Mall entrance)
March 20 – SBL Fayette County Hospital, Vandalia
March 27 – SBL Casey Clinic.
Stout is thankful that he listened to his wife and daughter. “It really helped me out to get that kit. That’s the only way I would have done the test, and it probably saved my life,” he said. “It’s well worth being screened to avoid having to go through surgery or cancer treatments.”
The SBL Gastroenterology Clinic encourages those who may be reluctant to have a colonoscopy for any reason to pick up a free screening kit. “It’s a very simple test, and you can do it in the privacy of your own home,” Gastroenterology nurse Jerica Thrasher, LPN, said. Sarah Bush Lincoln is offering free colorectal cancer screening to make sure financial costs – or other factors, such as personal embarrassment – do not prevent people from getting a potentially life-saving screening for colon cancer.
Beginning at age 50, both men and women at average risk of developing colorectal cancer should undergo screening for colon cancer. However, 23 million Americans between the ages of 50 and 75 aren't getting screened as recommended. As a result, colorectal cancer remains the second-leading cancer killer in the United States.
“It’s well worth the time and any possible inconvenience to have the screening,” SBL Gastroenterologist Alexis Ayonote, MD, said. “Too many people think ‘I’m healthy, so I don’t need to do anything.’ In its early stages, colorectal cancer has no symptoms. By the time people notice bleeding, bowel changes and bloating, it’s often too late.” Routine screening could save an estimated 30,000 lives each year, according to the American Cancer Society.
For more information, or to make an appointment at SBL Gastroenterology and Special Procedures, call 217 258-4155 or go to www.sarahbush.org.