Colon cancer screening made easy via Center for Healthy Living’s Cologuard® campaign

Next month is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, which is a great time to encourage you and your family members to take advantage of lifesaving colon cancer (also referred to as colorectal cancer) screening options. In conjunction with Cologuard® and Exact Sciences, the Center for Healthy Living (CHL) on Purdue’s West Lafayette campus, is offering Cologuard® – a noninvasive stool-based test that detects blood and abnormal DNA associated with colon cancer and pre-cancer.

“Human Resources – Benefits and the Center for Healthy Living (CHL) are committed to helping make colon cancer screening easy and accessible to Purdue employees,” said Candace Shaffer, senior director of benefits in Human Resources. “The collaboration with Cologuard® allows us to fulfill that commitment, and also provides us the opportunity to offer an additional preventive screening to our population. For example, the annual screening mammogram program continues to increase the university’s mammogram screening rate year after year. Currently, only 36 percent of the benefits-eligible employees on the West Lafayette campus who are 50 years and older have had some type of colon cancer screening (colonoscopy, fecal occulant test or Cologuard®) in the last six years. We would very much like to see that percentage begin to increase as we’ve seen with the mammogram rates.” 

The screening campaign also directly aligns with the Healthy Boiler Program’s physical health pillar, which supports and encourages preventive care -- among other things -- in an effort to help individuals achieve lasting physical health and overall well-being. 

Keep in mind, Cologuard® is not intended for high-risk individuals; therefore, the first step in the process is for employees and / or covered spouses to complete a pre-screening questionnaire (which will be available beginning March 1) on the Healthy Boiler Portal. Following the questionnaire completion and submission via the portal, there are only a few more steps:

  • CHL staff will do outreach following questionnaire completion to schedule an appointment.
  • After the appointment at the CHL, Cologuard kit will be delivered to patient homes.
  • Patient completes and returns the Cologuard kit to Cologuard/Exact Sciences in a prepaid envelope via US mail.
  • Results will be delivered to the CHL.
  • CHL staff will schedule a follow-up appointment to discuss results and next steps.

“Screening is the best way to prevent colon cancer,” Shaffer added. “And we hope that our Purdue community will take advantage of this new campaign to learn where they stand in regards to their colon health. CHL staff members will address any questions or concerns employees might have, and will help guide anyone who doesn’t fit the Cologuard® requirements to other options as well as assist those who do use Cologuard® as their screening tool plan for what’s next based on their results. We are excited to be able to offer this type of screening option to Purdue’s population.”

For more information – including FAQs, an instructional video and more – visit the “March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month” web page.  Questions can also be directed to the CHL at 765-494-0111.