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Free events focus on colon cancer prevention

Local network spreads message of prevention, early detection through free community education events

--added 2/24/10

Ann Arbor, MI. -- Now more than ever it is evident that cancer screenings do save lives. Last year more than 50,000 Americans died from a type of cancer that is extremely preventable - colorectal cancer. Despite the fact that it is the second leading cause of cancer death today, half of colorectal cancer deaths could have been avoided if everyone at risk for the disease were simply screened.

This is the impetus behind the Colorectal Cancer Awareness Network (CRAN), an alliance of more than 300 individuals and organizations in Michigan and Indiana, including the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center, with a shared mission of spreading the word throughout local communities that colon cancer screenings are critical to saving lives.

The CRAN of Washtenaw County is hosting a series of free community education events open to the public. The events, which will include speakers from U-M, will be held throughout March in Ann Arbor, Chelsea, Saline, and Ypsilanti public libraries and will have a focus on prevention and survivorship of colorectal cancer.

Chelsea: 6:30-8 p.m. Monday, March 8, Chelsea District Library, 221 S. Main St.

Saline: 6:30-8 p.m. Thursday, March 11, Saline District Library, 555 N. Maple Rd.

Ann Arbor: 7-8:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 16, Ann Arbor Library, Malletts Creek Branch, 3090 E. Eisenhower Pkwy.

Ypsilanti: 7-8:30 p.m. Monday, March 29, Ypsilanti District Library, 5577 Whittaker Rd.

For more information, contact the American Cancer Society at 734-971-4300.

About colorectal cancer screening

Many people don't know that screenings allow doctors to easily detect and remove polyps (growths that can become cancerous) before they can become a health threat. The American Cancer Society recommends screenings for all men and women age 50 and older. Those with a family history of colon cancer should consult with their physician and may need to be screened earlier. Currently, fewer than 45% of age-appropriate Michigan citizens have been screened for colorectal cancer in the past five years. Led by the American Cancer Society, Great Lakes Division, the goal of all CRAN groups is to significantly increase this number to 50%.

Beginning at age 50, the American Cancer Society recommends the following tests to find colon cancer early:

Tests that detect adenomatous polyps and cancer

  • Flexible sigmoidoscopy every 5 years
  • Colonoscopy every 10 years
  • Double contrast barium enema every 5 years
  • CT colonography every 5 years

Tests that primarily detect cancer

  • Annual guaiac-based fecal occult blood test with high test sensitivity for cancer
  • Annual fecal immunochemical test with high test sensitivity for cancer
  • Stool DNA test with high sensitivity for cancer; interval uncertain

The American Cancer Society suggests one of these approaches when consulting your doctor about colon cancer:

  • I'm over 50 - should I get tested for colon cancer?
  • I've read that there's more than one test for colon cancer. Which one is right for me?
  • How is the test done? How do I prepare for it? What will happen to me, and how will I feel?
  • Now that I'm 50, what other tests for cancer should I have?

For more information about the Colorectal Cancer Awareness Network of Washtenaw County, call 734-971-4300.

The American Cancer Society combines an unyielding passion with nearly a century of experience to save lives and end suffering from cancer. As a global grassroots force of more than three million volunteers, we fight for every birthday threatened by every cancer in every community. We save lives by helping people stay well by preventing cancer or detecting it early; helping people get well by being there for them during and after a cancer diagnosis; by finding cures through investment in groundbreaking discovery; and by fighting back by rallying lawmakers to pass laws to defeat cancer and by rallying communities worldwide to join the fight. As the nation's largest non-governmental investor in cancer research, contributing about $3.4 billion, we turn what we know about cancer into what we do. As a result, more than 11 million people in America who have had cancer and countless more who have avoided it will be celebrating birthdays this year. To learn more about us or to get help, call us any time, day or night, at 1-800-227-2345 or visit cancer.org.

Resources

U-M Cancer AnswerLine™, 800-865-1125

 

Written by Nicole Fawcett

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Speak with a Cancer nurse: 1-800-865-1125