Throughout March Cuyuna Regional Medical Center is participating in the Colon Cancer Coalition’s nationwide #BlueForCRC initiative. Hospitals and clinics throughout Minnesota will be lit blue spreading the importance of screening for colorectal cancer.
Blue is the color of colorectal cancer awareness. CRMC’s entrance will be lit blue for the entire month and employees will wear blue to work on Tuesday, March 9, in an effort to educate area residents about the importance of colorectal cancer screening and show support for patients, survivors and caregivers in our community.
Landmarks and health care facilities across the state will shine blue from dusk to dawn. The commitment of Minnesota’s health care community, together with the civic and business participation, provides a platform to bring attention to the nation’s second leading cause of cancer deaths in the U.S.
Colorectal cancer is one of the few cancers that can be prevented through screening and due to COVID-19 the number of colonoscopies declined nearly 90 percent in April 2020 from the previous year. The American Cancer Society recommends that screening for this preventable cancer should begin at age 45 for adults with average risk. Screening should begin earlier for individuals with a family history of colorectal cancer or polyps.
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; exercising regularly and 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.