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Published on March 02, 2015

SRHS Promotes Screenings During Colon Cancer Awareness Month

Events focus on education, prevention of cancer

Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System (SRHS) is holding three events to increase awareness of colon cancer during March, Colon Cancer Awareness Month. Gibbs Cancer Center & Research Institute and SRHS are bringing awareness to colon cancer with National Dress in Blue Day on March 6. SRHS is sponsoring free educational information on colon cancer and how to get screened at WestGate Mall in Spartanburg on March 18, from 7 to 10 a.m.

Gastroenterologist Derek Brenda, M.D., who specializes in diseases and disorders of the digestive system, will also discuss colon cancer prevention and detection at Pelham Medical Center in the Medical Office Building on March 24, at 12 p.m. To register, visit

Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States, with 90 percent of new cases occurring in people over 50, according to the Colon Cancer Alliance. Colon Cancer Awareness Month, observed annually in March, focuses on educating people about the disease and encouraging early detection through colonoscopies.

Colon cancer typically begins with a small clump of non-cancerous cells called a polyp. Over time, these polyps can progress into colorectal cancer. During a colonoscopy, these polyps can be removed before this can occur. One in three of adults between the ages of 50 and 75 are still not getting these recommended screenings, according to the Colon Cancer Alliance.

Signs and symptoms of colon cancer include:

•A change in your bowel habits, including diarrhea or constipation or a change in the consistency of your stool

•Rectal bleeding or blood in your stool

•Persistent abdominal discomfort such as cramps, gas or pain

•A feeling that your bowel doesn't empty completely

•Weakness or fatigue

•Unexplained weight loss

Many people with colon cancer experience no symptoms in the early stages of the disease. When symptoms appear, they'll likely vary, depending on the cancer's size and location in your large intestine.

Several factors put you at risk for colorectal cancer:

•Inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis

•A personal or family history of colorectal cancer or colorectal polyps

•A genetic syndrome such as familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) or hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer

•Lack of regular physical activity

•Low fruit and vegetable intake

•A low-fiber and high-fat diet

•Overweight and obesity

•Alcohol consumption

•Tobacco use

When to see a doctor

If you notice any symptoms of colon cancer, such as blood in your stool or a persistent change in bowel habits, make an appointment with your primary care physician. Talk to your doctor about when you should begin screening for colon cancer. Guidelines generally recommend colon cancer screenings begin at age 50. Your doctor may recommend more frequent or earlier screening if you have other risk factors, such as a family history of the disease.

For more information on cancer prevention, screenings and care, call to action 1-855-DNA-GIBBS.


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Upcoming Events

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  • Sep
    6:00 PM - 7:30 PM
    This monthly support group meeting is open to all cancer survivors.
  • Oct
    8:00 AM - 1:00 PM
    This is a 5K race and fun run to help raise funds and awareness for breast cancer.

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