Throughout March, Cuyuna Regional Medical Center’s entrance will be lit blue as part of Colorectal Cancer Awareness to educate area residents about the importance of colorectal cancer screening and show support for patients, survivors, and caregivers.
The blue lights provide a platform to bring attention to the nation’s second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States. According to the Colorectal Cancer Alliance, an estimated 153,020 people will be diagnosed with the highly preventable disease in 2023. They will join more than 1.4 million colorectal cancer patients and survivors living today.
Colorectal cancer is one of the few cancers that can be prevented through screening. Because there are often no symptoms when it is first developing, colorectal cancer can only be caught early through regular screening, said CRMC Surgeon Shawn Roberts, M.D. A screening colonoscopy can prevent cancer by removing pre-cancerous polyps before they can become cancer.
"The benefits of early detection and treatment are dramatic. The possibility of curing patients after symptoms develop can be quite low, but if colorectal cancer is found and treated at an early stage, the opportunity to cure is almost 100 percent. Most colon cancers start as small growths called polyps. If we can find these polyps while they are still non-cancerous, we can remove them, and the cancer may be prevented. Major surgery can usually be avoided as well," Dr. Roberts said.
In addition to timely and regular screening for colorectal cancer, Dr. Roberts said people may be able to lower their risk of getting the disease by avoiding foods that are high in fat; eating plenty of vegetables, fruits, and other high-fiber foods; maintaining a normal body weight; not smoking; and drinking alcohol only in moderation.
For more information, contact your primary care provider. Call 218-546-7000 for an appointment with a CRMC physician.