Once a year, the University of Louisville replaces its red with blue to drive home the need for colon cancer screening.

The Kentucky Cancer Program at UofL will team up with Texas Roadhouse, 6460 Dutchmans Parkway, and former Louisville First Lady Madeline Abramson for “Go Blue for Colon Cancer Awareness,” from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., Friday, March 11, as part of the observance of March as Colon Cancer Awareness Month.

Attendees are invited to wear blue and visit the new Horses and Hope Screening Van, managed by KentuckyOne Health, that will be on site to provide colon cancer information and colon cancer “FIT” kits for patrons to self-screen in the privacy of their own homes. The fecal immunochemical test (FIT) kit tests for hidden blood in the stool which can be an early sign of cancer. FIT kits only detect human blood from the lower intestine. Medicines and food do not interfere with the test, so it tends to be more accurate and have fewer false positive results than other tests.

Giveaways will be provided to attendees who wear blue and visit the screening van. Anyone bringing a “Go Blue for Colon Cancer Awareness” flyer during the event will get a free appetizer with purchase of a meal at Texas Roadhouse. To obtain a flyer, visit the Kentucky Cancer Program website at kycancerprogram.org or Facebook page.

The Kentucky Cancer Program also is sponsoring a Facebook photo contest with the theme, “How Will YOU Do Blue?” Participants can post their dress-in-blue photos for the chance to win $250. For information, visit the contest website. Photos must be received by March 28 and the winner will be announced April 5.

Colon cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer and the second leading cause of cancer death in men and women combined in the United States. The American Cancer Society estimates that this year 136,830 people will be diagnosed and 50,310 will die from this disease.

With regular screening, however, colon cancer can be found early, when treatment is most effective. In many cases, screening can prevent colon cancer by finding and removing polyps before they become cancer. If cancer is present, earlier detection means a chance at a longer life.

For more details, contact the Kentucky Cancer Program at 502-852-6318.

Jill Scoggins is Director of Communications at UofL's Louis D. Brandeis School of Law. She has been at UofL since 2010.