More than 1 million people in the U.S. have won their fights with colon cancer. But despite that triumph, colorectal cancer remains the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the country.
In fact, the American Cancer Society (ACS) expects 50,000 lives to be lost this year alone. So why the high number? “Some people still don’t know they have it,” said Mandy Gray, oncology program coordinator for Mercy Springfield. “They’ll wait until the symptoms start and by that time it can be well advanced.”
Overall, the ACS reports the death rate from colon cancer – also known as colorectal cancer – does continue to drop, likely because it’s being spotted earlier and at a time when the disease is easier to cure. “It’s all about early detection,” added Gray. “Lots of people still don’t have colonoscopies when they should, or they’re not following the recommendations of their physicians to get properly screened.”
To encourage screenings and commemorate March as Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, Mercy Cancer Resource Center and the American Cancer Society are partnering with Hy-Vee to provide colon health education with a free, “Know Your Colon” event, part of the grocer’s Health Bash weekend.
Attendees can learn about colon health, cancer prevention and early detection. Mercy will have a team of experts there, including a nurse navigator who works directly with cancer patients, Mercy’s medical librarian, and Gray herself to field questions about the disease.
Hy-Vee will also be providing colon-healthy cooking demonstrations. The event will be held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, March 8, at the store located at 1720 W. Battlefield Road. There will also be door prizes.
To learn more about cancer care at Mercy Springfield, click here.