EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - When it comes to our health, many of us are focusing on COVID-19 right now, but doctors at Ascension St. Vincent want to remind us not to forget about other important screenings.
It was six years ago when Christy Bayer, of Evansville, heard it for the first time.
“2015, I got diagnosed with cancer,” says Bayer.
It was Stage 3 colon cancer - the third most common cancer in both men and women, according to the American Cancer Society.
At just 40 years old, she could tell something wasn’t right, and it was after several tests that doctors recommended she get screened for colon cancer.
“If we would have waited longer,” says Bayer, “then I might have a different outcome.”
That’s because her doctor, Dr. Sheryl Ziegler, says early detection is key in beating colorectal cancer.
“If somebody detects it before it spreads to lymph nodes, meaning early-stage colon cancer,” says Dr. Ziegler, “the chances that somebody is alive and well five years later is over 90%.”
That’s why Ascension St. Vincent is giving away free, at-home, stool-based colon cancer screening kits for the entire month of April.
“The U.S. Prevention Task Force just changed their guidelines for the first time in a few decades,” says Dr. Ziegler, “so now we are starting to screen people at the age of 45 to 75.”
Six years after her diagnosis, Bayer has been cancer-free for more than a year.
“Lately, I’ve had three scans,” says Bayer, “and all three scans have come back, each scan looks better and better.”
She credits Dr. Ziegler and early detection.
“It helped me out,” says Bayer, “and then it also helped me so I can inform my sisters and my father to all get tested, to get colonoscopies.”
All Evansville residents 45 to 75-years-old can get a free kit. Anyone interested is asked to call 812-485-4308 before the end of the month.