CAMBRIDGE -- Yes, you read that headline correct. One lucky resident of Guernsey or Noble county will win a free colonoscopy to screen for colorectal cancer courtesy of Southeastern Med.

To enter the drawing, please stop by the information desk in the lobby at Southeastern Med to fill out an entry form or visit www.seormc.org to download an entry form. Email the completed form to jjfannin@seormc.org with the subject line: Free Colonoscopy. The entry deadline is May 13, and the drawing will take place May 14.

Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the U.S. among cancers that affect both men and women. It surpasses both breast and prostate cancers in mortality, and second only to lung cancer in numbers of cancer deaths.

Physicians at Southeastern Med encourage everyone to begin screening for colorectal cancer soon after turning 50, and then continue to be screened regularly. If caught early, colon cancer has a high cure rate, but many people choose not to get screened until symptoms occur.

Colorectal cancer affects the colon or the rectum. It starts with a single cell that mutates and grows into a visible polyp, which then may develop into cancer. Effective screening tests identify the presence of cancer early, when treatment is most effective. The U.S Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends colorectal cancer screening for men and women aged 50-75 using a stool test, sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy. Those with a family history of colorectal cancer, polyps, or inflammatory bowel disease may need to begin screening younger.

"Precancerous polyps and colorectal cancer do not always cause symptoms, especially at first," said Michael Sarap, surgeon with Southeastern Ohio Physicians Inc. and Southeastern Med medical staff member. "Regular screenings are especially important because the earliest stages of colorectal cancer occur in people with no known risk factors for the disease.Screening tests also detect pre-cancerous polyps, which can easily be removed before they ever become cancer."

Dale Charleston, 52, of Kimbolton, underwent his first colonoscopy screening at Southeastern Med in February. During his colonoscopy, doctors found and removed a dysplastic polyp, which is the stage before turning cancerous. He credits the procedure with saving his life.

"I am relieved the polyp was found and removed in time before it turned cancerous," Dale said. "I would encourage everyone to get screened just to be safe. I'm glad I listened to my wife and scheduled a colonoscopy."

Southeastern Med also provides free stool screening kits to test for blood in the privacy in of your own home, as well as free colonoscopies to those who are uninsured or underinsured.

To receive information about colorectal cancer, a free screening kit or to find out if you qualify for a free colonoscopy, call Jen Fannin, manager of Cancer Registry at Southeastern Med, at 740-439-8156.