Scotland County Hospital observes Colon Cancer Awareness Month

Published: Mar. 17, 2023 at 6:48 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Mo. (WGEM) - March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month and local doctors are urging everyone to stay aware of their colon cancer risk.

To help spread awareness, Scotland County Hospital is offering Fecal Immunochemical Tests (FIT) for $25.

The non-invasive tests require little to no preparation and can be done at home. A positive test cannot alone diagnose colon cancer, but it can reveal an issue that would require a colonoscopy.

Dr. Celeste Miller-Parish, chief of surgery at Scotland County Hospital, said the tests can be beneficial for all ages.

“I think a lot of people don’t realize colon cancer is increasing in frequency in younger ages. We used to recommend screening at age 50 and now we’re starting to say 45, somewhat younger if you have any signs or symptoms,” said Dr. Miller-Parish.

Common symptoms include blood in the stool, abdominal cramps and constipation. However, colon cancer may not necessarily be accompanied by symptoms so regular checks are important.

She said those checks could begin earlier than 45 years old if there is a family history of colon cancer, and those checks should begin within a 10 year period of when that family member was diagnosed.

While colon cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer related deaths in the United States, it can be prevented with early detection.

“Most people don’t realize colon cancer is one of the few preventable cancers in the sense that if you have a colonoscopy and remove the polyp, you’ve essentially prevented the polyp from growing into colon cancer,” said Dr. Miller-Parish.

Colon cancer has a 90% survival rate when detected early.

The hospital will be hosting an informational session next Thursday about colon cancer and good nutrition.

The free lunch and learn session will take place at noon in the hospital’s Library Conference Room along parking lot B.

Participants are asked to call 660-465-8511 to register for the event.

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