More than 1 million people in the U.S. have won their battles with colon cancer. But despite that triumph, it remains the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the country.
In fact, the American Cancer Society expects 50,000 lives to be lost this year alone due to the disease. “In short, everyone needs to be screened; they just aren’t,” said Dr. Daanish Kazi, surgeon at Mercy Hospital Lebanon. “First, we need to determine if a patient is at risk, which a primary care doctor can do during an annual wellness exam and then refer to us."
Experts recommend routine testing for colon cancer, also known as colorectal cancer, for everyone 50 and older. People at higher risk – for example, those with family members who’ve had cancer – should be tested sooner.
“We do fecal occult blood tests and colonoscopies. We have the newest digital and light technology that helps us look at the lining of the colon in very high resolution detail,” explained Dr. Kazi. “We also have digital tools that have improved our efficiency in the colonoscopy for patients who have a very technically difficult colonoscopy.” Doctors at Mercy Hospital Lebanon who perform colonoscopies are also surgeons who do minimally invasive surgery if cancer is found. “This means less time from diagnosis to treatment.”
To encourage screenings and commemorate March as Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, Mercy Hospital Lebanon is hosting an event Saturday, March 22 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the VF Outlet (2020 Industrial Dr.) in Lebanon, Mo.
Mercy medical staff will be on hand at the event to discuss colon care, cancer prevention and early detection. The American Cancer Society will be providing colorectal information and giveaways, and the Pampered Chef will demonstrate how to eat healthier. Meanwhile, Mercy wellness coordinators will provide free body mass index (BMI) readings and blood pressure screenings. Mercy Fitness Center Lebanon will also offer participants some exercise ideas.
Dr. Kazi is among a three-surgeon team at Mercy Hospital Lebanon, located at 100 Hospital Drive. He provides general surgery expertise including advanced laparoscopic surgery, colon cancer surgery and anti-reflux surgery. To learn more about Mercy cancer care, click here.