Colon cancer is the third-leading cause of cancer-related deaths in Santa Barbara County and the second-leading in the United States. More than 60 percent of Americans older than ago 50 have never been screened for colon cancer.

To help address these issues and in support of National Colon Cancer Awareness Month, the Cancer Center of Santa Barbara is offering free screenings and information events in March at locations in Carpinteria, Goleta and Santa Barbara.

The Cancer Center of Santa Barbara hopes to raise widespread awareness of this highly preventable disease though information and screening opportunities. By participating in a screening, individuals can identify colon cancer early when it is most treatable — or help prevent it all together.

Free Colon Cancer Information and Screening Dates and Locations

» Carpinteria: 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. March 14 at St. Joseph’s Church, 1532 Linden Ave.

» Goleta: 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. March 21 at St. Rafael Church, 5444 Hollister Ave.

» Santa Barbara: 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. March 27 at SBNC, Eastside Neighborhood Clinic, Eastside Health Promotion Center, second floor, 915 N. Milpas St.

A health-care provider will be available at each location to hand out information about colon cancer screenings as well as free take-home FIT (Fecal Immunochemical Test) kits to those age 50 or older.

The FIT test can be done at home and once completed, individuals must return FITs in the provided envelope to the cancer center. Results will be given within two weeks of mailing in the test. Cancer center staff will then inform individuals of their test results.

For more information about the screenings or the Cancer Center of Santa Barbara’s Colon Cancer Early Detection and Prevention Program, click here or call the cancer center at 805.898.2204.

— Daniella Elghanayan is a publicist.