Advocate Health Care joins colorectal cancer screening initiative

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Advocate Health Care is among several new Illinois health care providers that have joined the American Cancer Society’s statewide colorectal cancer-screening initiative.

Launched last summer, the multi-year program aims to raise awareness about colorectal health and to screen a significant number of the more than 800,000 people in Illinois who meet eligibility criteria but haven’t been screened, regardless of their insurance status or ability to pay.

The American Cancer Society has provided grants to four Advocate hospitals to perform colonoscopies for eligible uninsured patients. Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville, Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital in Barrington, Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge and Advocate Trinity Hospital on Chicago’s south side, will provide free colonoscopies to eligible patients who are uninsured.

“Advocate is excited to partner with the American Cancer Society on this effort,” said Lee Sacks, M.D., executive vice president and chief medical officer, Advocate Health Care. “Early detection of colorectal cancer is essential in saving lives and raising awareness is vital.”

Other Illinois health-care institutions that have partnered with the ACS on this initiative include the Illinois Hospital Association, Northwestern Memorial Hospital, University of Chicago Hospital, Rush Hospital, Southern Illinois Healthcare System and Southern Illinois University Hospital.

Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in Illinois with an estimated 2,500 people expected to die from the disease this year, according to the ACS. Screening allows doctors to find polyps in the colon and remove them before they turn cancerous. The disease is highly treatable if found early.

The ACS recommends that people should start getting screened for colorectal cancer at age 50, but those individuals with a family history are at a higher risk and may need to be screened earlier.

- Advocate Health Care