Colorectal cancer screenings save lives

Published 11:45 pm Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Colorectal cancer is one of the most preventable, treatable and beatable cancers, according to health officials with the Mary Bird Perkins Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center.

Colorectal cancer is the third most common cause of cancer in the United States, and they say more than 90 percent of colorectal cancers can be cured when caught in the earliest stages.

Early detection is the resounding key.

A spotlight is being shined on the issue this month, because March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month.

In the River Parishes, the Cancer Center is hosting breast, skin and colorectal cancer screenings from 9 to 11 a.m. and noon to 2 p.m. March 14 at Winn-Dixie, 1830 W. Airline Highway in LaPlace. Appointments are required for breast screenings. Call 888-616-4687.

The Cancer Center is also hosting colorectal and skin cancer screenings from 12:30 to 3 p.m. March 19 at Winn-Dixie in Gramercy.

Health officials said easy-to-use take home screening kits are going to be distributed.

Men and women 50 and older who have not been screened for colorectal cancer in the past 12 months are eligible for the free screenings.

Appointments are not necessary.

These events are especially important to those in the River Parishes because, according to the Louisiana Comprehensive Cancer Control Program, black men and Cajuns suffer disproportionately from the disease.

Colorectal cancer is also the second-leading cause of cancer death in Louisiana.

A lack of access to screenings and doctor recommendations, as well as avoidance of the issue, are reasons for the high mortality rate.

Inaction is the root of the cause.

These screenings combat that, offering life-saving help free of charge to anyone who wants to spare a few minutes for what could be a lifetime of benefit.

Controllable or lifestyle risk factors that can lead to colorectal cancer include a diet high in red and processed meats, such as beef, pork, lamb, liver, hot dogs and certain kinds of luncheon meats; physical inactivity; being obese; smoking; and heavy use of alcohol.

With a little awareness and simple screenings, this a problem that can be beat.