Local health departments offer flu shot and colon cancer screeni - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Local health departments offer flu shot and colon cancer screening kit

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JACKSON COUNTY -- You can now get your flu shot at the Jackson County Health Department during regular business hours. But that's not all. Nurses there also want to use the an opportunity as a way to encourage patients to look at colon cancer screenings as well.

The Jackson County Health Department has been administering the flu shot for the last two weeks.

"Flu vaccination is recommended as soon as you can get one in the fall," says Nursing Director Karen Brown.

With the vaccine, nurses are also asking patients over 50, if they've had a colonoscopy. If not, they're encouraging them to take what's called a "FIT" test.

"Fecal immunochemical testing and it's a very specific test to detect blood in stool," explains Brown. 

The test will help with early detection of colorectal cancer. Brown says colorectal cancer is the third most leading cause of cancer in the United States. Risk factors include; lack of exercise, obesity, smoking, heavy alcohol use, unhealthy diet and Type 2 diabetes.

"If someone has blood in the stool or cramping, unexpected weight loss, those are all symptoms that their might be cancer in the colon," adds Brown. 

A colonoscopy is recommended every 10 years after the age of 50.

Over 30 counties are offering the kit. The health department Monday-Thursday from 8-4:30 p.m.

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