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Going to the doctor and getting screened is an important step in staying healthy as we get older. Unfortunately, many people last year stayed away from hospitals and doctor offices. There are also many adults who just don't feel like getting check ups.

With that being said, Covenant Health will be offering free colon screenings for those who qualify during the 7th Annual Free Colonoscopy Clinic. The clinic will be held on Saturday, August 21 at the Covenant Endoscopy Center at 3610 21st street where a Board-Certified Gastroenterologist will perform the exam.

According to a press release from Covenant, doctors recommend that those over 45 or with a family history of colon cancer be screened regularly.

Colorectal screening tests can detect tiny polyps which are abnormal growths in both the rectum and colon. Colon cancer is one of the leading preventable cancers by early detection. Although diagnosis is possible at an early stage, many people delay seeking medical care because they may be embarrassed, fearful, or have limited financial resources.

Recently the American Cancer Society changed the age of recommended screening from 50 to 45-years-old. Colon cancer risk increases at age 50.

Criteria for qualifying patients include:

-At least 45 years of age or a family history of colon cancer

-never before received a colonoscopy

-must qualify for financial assistance

Space is limited. If you are interested call 806-725-0518 or 806-725-4442 between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday to be screened to make sure you qualify for the exam that is being offered for free. The deadline to call is July 21.

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To prepare yourself for a potential incident, always keep your vet's phone number handy, along with an after-hours clinic you can call in an emergency. The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center also has a hotline you can call at (888) 426-4435 for advice.

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