Oneonta goes blue to raise awareness for colon cancer | Local News

March is National Awareness Month Colorectal Cancer, and Main Street in Oneonta turned blue to celebrate Friday, March 25.

Rebecca Hess, Rebecca Barringer, Monique Misner and Mark Kirkby, employees of Cancer Services Program, set up a booth at Mueller Plaza from 11 am to 13 pm. They were there to educate people about the disease and profile those 45 and older kits test for colorectal cancer screening to take away. During the event, people could answer trivial questions to win prizes in the form of gift bags or gift certificates to businesses of Main Street or regional companies. The booth also included healthy snacks, a diagram showing various colon diseases that a person could contract and documentation of the Cancer Services Program.

“Some companies have joined us in placing a star in a window, each with a different colon cancer fact,” said Hess, awareness and education specialist at the Cancer Services Program.

According to the American Cancer Society, colon cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer in the United States and 149 500 people were newly diagnosed in 2021.

“Colon cancer is preventable,” Hess said. The most effective way is through screening, she said. During a colonoscopy, a doctor can remove polyps before they turn into cancer, she said. The age to start cancer screening was 50, but was lowered to 45 last May, she said. The Cancer Services program began covering screening at age 45 in January.

The Cancer Services Program provides free breast cancer screening, cervical and colon cancer for men and women who do not have insurance or who are underinsured. The program pays for colorectal screening kits for people aged 45 to 75 at average risk of cancer. The kits test people stool for blood. If a person has a high risk of cancer or if the results of the test kit home are positive, the program pays for diagnostic tracing, said Hess. If someone is diagnosed with colon cancer, results and treatment have improved, she said. If a person is diagnosed with cancer, the program helps the person, if eligible, to enroll in Medicaid Cancer Treatment Program of the State. The person enrolled in this program throughout the treatment.

“Insurance shouldn’t be a problem,” she said.

One person who stopped by the booth said she uses the program for her annual cancer screening. “It’s a great program,” said Stacey Smith. “I’ve been using the service every year for three years. It’s so convenient. You make an appointment and show up.”

For more information about the Cancer Services Program or to register for free testing, call 888-345-0225.

Vicky Klukkert, editor, can be reached at or 607-441-7221. Follow her @DS_VickyK on Twitter.