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The rate of incidence of colorectal cancer is higher in Erie County than any other county in New York State, according to the Cancer Burden Profile 2012, and Tops and a local cancer service agency are teaming up to do something about it.

Colon cancer is a slow-growing cancer that is preventable and treatable, and it is recommended by medical experts that everyone age 50 or older should be screened for it.

Tops Markets is partnering with the Erie County Cancer Services Program to offer free, take-home colon cancer screening kits for eligible men and women who are 50 and over during the month of March, which is Colon Cancer Awareness Month.

The “FIT Kit” provided as part of the regional partnership is a simple take-home test used as an early detection aid for colon cancer and has been proved to be as effective as a colonoscopy at reducing mortality due to colon cancer, organizers said.

The kit is offered for free to individuals without insurance and covered in full by most major insurance plans for those with insurance.

The Cancer Services Program of Erie County offers additional services for the uninsured, including diagnostics and treatment if needed. Information on additional no-cost testing services for women 40 and over also will be available from 3 to 7 p.m. during the following dates and at the following Tops locations:

Monday at 5274 Main St., Amherst; Wednesday at 3500 Main St.; Amherst, 355 Orchard Park Road, West Seneca, 3035 Niagara Falls Blvd., Amherst and 345 Amherst St., Buffalo; Thursday at 6914 Erie Road, Derby; and Friday at 1740 Sheridan Drive, Town of Tonawanda.

Also, March 18 at 65 Grey St., East Aurora; March 19 at 6150 South Park Ave., Hamburg; March 20 at 5175 Broadway, Depew; March 21 at 2101 Elmwood Ave., Buffalo; March 22 at 6363 Transit Road, Depew; March 25 at 700 Thruway Plaza Drive and 3865 Union Road, both in Cheektowaga; March 26 at 1460 South Park Ave., Buffalo; March 27 at 4777 Transit Road, Depew; March 28 at 2309 Maple Road, Amherst, and 9660 Transit Road, East Amherst; and March 29 at 150 Niagara St., Tonawanda.

For more information, visit the pharmacist at a participating store or go to CSPWNY.org.