DENNISON -- In recognition of March as National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, the Trinity Hospital Twin City Community Outreach Department is hosting a free colon health event for area residents from 6 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, March 21 at the hospital's first floor St. Francis Conference room.

Those who attend will receive a free take-home colon screening test, healthy snacks, a chance to win door prizes and the opportunity to hear from Dr. Galen Durose, II, a Board Certified Family practitioner with the hospital-owned Trinity Medical Group, and Ruthann Belknap, RN, Surgery Department supervisor.

"In our region, lung cancer is diagnosed most often, but our hospital physicians see more colon cancer than lung cancer. The awareness isn't the same for colon cancer as it is for breast and prostate cancers, and we are hosting this event to raise awareness," explained Tiffany Poland, Trinity Hospital Twin City director of Community Outreach. "Early colon cancer screening saves lives. People need to think about screening for colon cancer as much as they think about screening for breast and prostate cancers. I know so many people age 50 and older who haven't had their first colonoscopy yet. When I ask why they haven't scheduled a colonoscopy, they tell me they are worried about the preparation on the day before the test, or they just don't realize that this is a screening they need to prioritize."

At this free event, Dr. Durose and Belknap will discuss and explain colon health and the screening process.

A tour of the hospital's surgery department will also be included so participants can learn about the process of a typical colonoscopy screening.

Screening for colorectal cancer should begin soon after turning 50 and continue regularly until at least the age of 75.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, if everyone who is 50 years old or older were screened regularly for colorectal cancer (cancer of the colon or rectum), as many as 60 percent of deaths from this cancer could be avoided.

Every year, about 140,000 Americans are diagnosed with colorectal cancer, and more than 50,000 people die from it.

Early detection through screening allows for earlier treatment of the cancer and can often prevent death.

For information or to register for this free colon health event at Trinity Hospital Twin City, visit www.trinitytwincity.org or call 740-922-7450, ext. 2124.