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Cancer FAQ’s

Cancer Questions?

Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene



Who is eligible for cancer screening?

Montgomery County Cancer Crusade provides free cancer screenings for eligible County residents. In order to qualify, you must meet certain eligibility requirements:

  • Live in Montgomery County (must show proof)
  • Be uninsured
  • Low-income (must meet 250% Federal Poverty Guidelines)
  • With no current or pre-existing cancer diagnosis
  • Age
  • Breast and Cervical - 40 yrs*
  • Colorectal - 50 yrs*
  • Prostate - 45 yrs *
  • Oral - 18 yrs*

What types of cancer do you screen?

Our targeted cancers are:

  • Breast
  • Cervical
  • Colorectal
  • Oral
  • Prostate

Do you offer cancer treatment?

Our program is designed to raise awareness and understanding of the importance of cancer prevention and early detection. We provide cancer screenings for eligible clients who do not have a current diagnosis of cancer , however if cancer is detected through our screening program, treatment will be provided. We do not treat those who have been already diagnosed with cancer but we can assist in linking them to health resources.

How do I sign up for cancer screening?

If you meet our eligibility requirements, give us a call at 240.777.1222, we can help you.

What is a colonoscopy?

The colonoscopy procedure is used to find early cancers and potentially cancerous polyps (growths on the colon lining). The doctor will look at the lining of the large bowel by using a lighted tube put into the rectum. If abnormalities are seen, biopsies or small pinches of tissue can be taken through the tube. In addition, most polyps or growths in the colon can be removed through the scope. Biopsies or polyps are then sent to the laboratory for review. In general, the colonoscopy procedure takes approximately 30 to 45 minutes to perform and may take longer depending upon the intervention that may be required for any individual patient. A colonoscopy is an outpatient procedure. This means you will get to go home after the procedure is finished.




Is a colonoscopy painful?

You will usually be sedated so you will not feel any pain, w hile it may be slightly uncomfortable, it should not hurt. After the test, you might have some bleeding if polyps were removed. Complications are rare, but if they do occur, you can contact your doctor for treatment. Otherwise, you will just need to rest to recover from the sedative. You must have someone drive you home after the procedure. Some patients may be lethargic and forgetful afterwards, during this period; you should have someone check in on you to insure your safety. No driving, complicated or important decisions or alcoholic beverages are allowed on the day of the procedure. By next morning, most patients are able to continue with their daily activities.

Is the colonoscopy procedure dangerous?

As with any invasive procedure, complications may occur. Complications related to colonoscopy include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Persistent bleeding after biopsy
  • Peritonitis (inflammation of the lining of the abdominal cavity)
  • Perforation of the intestinal wall (rare)

There may be other risks depending upon your specific medical condition. Be sure to discuss any concerns with your physician prior to the procedure. Overall, colonoscopy is a very safe procedure that has many benefits and few complications when done by an experienced gastroenterologist .

What is the DRE ?

  A digital rectal Exam or DRE is an examination of the lower rectum. The term "digital" refers to the clinician's use of a lubricated finger (digit) to conduct the exam. The test is used to screen for prostate cancer along with blood and other tests, because the doctor can feel the prostate gland for abnormalities. It is also used to evaluate for an enlarged prostate. There may be mild discomfort felt during this test.

*The following cancer screening ages are recommended for those people at average risk for cancer (unless otherwise specified) and without any specific symptoms. For those with a higher or increased risk, they may need to be screened at an earlier age, please call 240.777.1222 for more information.