Ed Day, Rockland County Executive

March 19, 2018
Contact: John Lyon, Director of Strategic Communications (845) 638-5645
                 Patricia Schnabel Ruppert, D.O., M.P.H., CPE, DABFM, FAAFP (845) 364-2512


March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

NEW CITY, NY - - Rockland County Executive Ed Day and County Health Commissioner Dr. Patricia Schnabel Ruppert urge residents 50 and older to get tested for colorectal cancer - it could save your life!

Colorectal cancer is cancer that occurs in the colon or rectum. It usually starts from polyps (small growths) on the lining of the colon or rectum. Polyps and colorectal cancer may not cause symptoms, especially at first. It can take many years for a polyp to develop into colorectal cancer.

Screening is the process of looking for cancer or pre-cancer in people who don't have any symptoms of the disease. Regular colorectal cancer screening tests can help prevent cancer by finding (and removing) polyps before they turn into cancer, and can also help find cancer early. When colorectal cancer is found early, it can be more easily and successfully treated.

Most people who are diagnosed with colorectal cancer are older than 50. "If you are 50 or older, you are at risk for colorectal cancer, and should be tested even if you have no symptoms and no family history of the disease," said Dr. Ruppert. Both men and women are at risk.

Some people have certain risk factors that make them more likely to develop this type of cancer, and to get it at an earlier age. This may mean they should start screening earlier, or get tested more often than other people. One of these risk factors is a family history of colon cancer or pre-cancerous polyps, especially in parents, brothers and sisters, or children. Family history of other colon problems can also increase risk. These include hereditary syndromes such as familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) or hereditary non-polyposis colon cancer (HNPCC), also known as Lynch syndrome. Your own personal history can also affect your risk. For example, you are more likely to get colon cancer if you have had pre-cancerous colon polyps in the past. Having other conditions, such as ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease, or type 2 diabetes can also increase your risk of colon cancer. It is important to talk to your doctor about your colorectal cancer risk, which screening tests are right for you, and when you should get them.

The Cancer Services Program of the Hudson Valley Region offers FREE colorectal cancer screening tests and follow-up services if you are uninsured (or under-insured) and meet eligibility requirements. For more information call (855) 277-4482 or visit

Most health insurance plans cover colorectal cancer screening tests. Check your health plan for details on your specific coverage.

To learn more about colorectal cancer, call the American Cancer Society at (800) 227-2345 or visit