One of three free clinics in the Lowcountry is offering colon cancer screenings for uninsured people. According to a release from Heather Bragg, Beaufort Jasper County Volunteers in Medicine with efforts from Beaufort Jasper Hampton Comprehensive Health Services, which secured a grant with the American Cancer Society’s National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable, and a grant from AccessHealth Lowcountry, BJVIM, Good Neighbors Free Medical Clinic in Beaufort and the Volunteers in Medicine of Hilton Head are offering fecal immonochemical test (FIT) for screening colon cancer. It tests for hidden human blood in stool, which can be an early sign of cancer. Medicines and food do not interfere with the test. The test tends to be more accuracte and has fewer false positive results than other tests.
“Colon cancer is 100% curable if it’s detected in time, and it’s also preventable if polyps are removed prior to becoming cancerous,” said Debbie Slazyk, director of AccessHealth Lowcountry, which serves as a liaison between patients and medical providers.
Since the FIT tests began in January there has been two positive test. Patients are requested to take the test home and mail in their samples. Within the first five weeks, there was a 50% return rate. Dr. John Crisologo, a gastroenterologist with Beaufort Memorial Lowcountry Medical Group, is performing up to eight free colonoscopies a month, and Beaufort Pathology is waiving their fees for their services as well, Slazyk said.
“There has been a lot of interest with the primary care physicians in the community to expand the program with uninsured patients and those who qualify with low-income guidelines,” Slazyk said.
Bluffton Jasper County Volunteers In Medicine provides free medical care in a compassionate and professional manner to the uninsured of greater Bluffton and Jasper counties with an emphasis on preventative medicine and health education. For more information, visit their website or call 843-706-7090.