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Published on March 08, 2016

Being Proactive Can Save Your Life

You haven’t taken a day off from work in six months. Life gets so busy that you put your health on the back burner. But not getting health screenings — like a colonoscopy — puts your life at risk. You should get your first colonoscopy at age 50 and—if you are low risk—repeat the exam every five to 10 years.

“The use of screening colonoscopy and the removal of polyps during the procedure have been shown to not only reduce deaths form colon cancer but also can prevent the development of such cancers,” said Gordon France, Jr., MD, with Medical Group of the Carolinas—Gastroenterology—Spartanburg.

Symptoms can sometimes appear late in the illness, so getting screened is important.

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

Factors that 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
• Obesity
• Alcohol consumption
• Tobacco use

Help the community during Colon Cancer Awareness Month

Help provide a colon cancer screening to someone in need in the community through the Betty Ann Moore Colon Cancer Fund. This fund was created by John Moore and Anne Brady Moore Carlson in memory of their mother, Betty Ann Moore, who passed away due to colon cancer. Donations to this fund go to underinsured and uninsured people in the Spartanburg community who cannot afford colonoscopy screenings. To donate, visit

When to see a doctor

If you notice any of these symptoms or feel that you are at risk, make an appointment with your primary care physician. Talk to your doctor about when you should begin screening for colon cancer.

For screening information, please call 1-855-DNA-GIBBS.

Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System’s Colon Cancer Events:

Celebrate Life Top to Bottom: A Tribute to Colon Cancer Patients & Families
Thursday, March 10, 6 – 7 p.m.
Bearden-Josey Center for Breast Health
Join us as we celebrate our colorectal cancer patients and their families. Register online at or call 864-560-6508 to learn more.

Gibbs Wellness Café: On a Roll to Wipe Out Colon Cancer
Wednesday, March 16, 12 – 1 p.m.
Gibbs Cancer Center Auditorium
Held the third Wednesday of each month, Gibbs Wellness Café is a monthly conversation focusing on various topics related to cancer and the community. James Dunn, MD, will discuss colon cancer prevention, detection and what you can do to eliminate your risks. Lunch will be provided at this free event but registration is required. Register online at or call
864-560-6508 for more information.

About Gibbs Cancer Center & Research Institute

Gibbs Cancer Center & Research Institute is a nationally recognized cancer treatment and research facility. Gibbs is a proven leader in providing effective cancer treatment through advanced technology, professional expertise and an exceptional level of personalized care. Gibbs, with four locations in the Upstate, is one of the largest cancer centers in South Carolina and offers more than 140 clinical trials. Gibbs Cancer Center & Research Institute—Pelham is currently undergoing a $65 million expansion project. Gibbs’ oncology program, which includes the Bearden-Josey Center for Breast Health, was also recognized by the Commission on Cancer of the American College of Surgeons as offering high-quality cancer care. Gibbs takes a multidisciplinary approach to treating patients; bringing together radiologists, medical oncologists and surgeons to determine the best course of treatment for our patients.

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