Because March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, Beaumont Health System is stepping up its community awareness efforts. To kick off the month, area residents and community groups are invited to see a large, inflatable human colon on display in the South Tower of Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak from Feb. 27 to March 1.
Explains Harry Wasvary, M.D., co-director, Colorectal Multidisciplinary Tumor Clinic, Beaumont, Royal Oak, “The giant colon is definitely unique. It grabs your attention. How often can people walk through a 20 foot long and 13 foot wide, inflatable colon complete with polyps? These are small growths or tumors within the colon that can enlarge and develop into colon cancers.”
According to the American Cancer Society, colorectal cancer is one of only two cancers that can actually be prevented through screening. Colorectal cancer is cancer of the colon or rectum.
Adds Dr. Wasvary, “We hope this display not only educates, but encourages those over 50 years of age to be screened regularly for colorectal cancer. “
Among cancers that affect both men and women, colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that more than 140,000 Americans are diagnosed with colorectal cancer every year; and more than 50,000 of them die.
Mitchell Cappell, M.D., Ph.D., chief of Gastroenterology at Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak, says, “If you are over 50 and never had a colonoscopy, you are overdue. After becoming 50, I had my first colonoscopy. The procedure was much easier and less stressful than I had anticipated.”
Colonoscopy is a common, relatively safe, diagnostic procedure that allows physicians to examine the entire length of the large intestine or colon. It can assist in identifying problems within the colon, such as early signs of colorectal cancer, inflamed tissue, ulcers and bleeding. An endoscope – a long, flexible, lighted tube, also called a colonoscope is used during the procedure. The scope can take tissue samples and remove abnormal growths known as polyps.
Alarmingly, colorectal cancer is often asymptomatic, meaning that individuals experience no noticeable symptoms.
Other awareness activities and events include:
- March 5: Community education program at 7 p.m., “Living with Crohn’s and Colitis,” Berman Center for the Performing Arts, West Bloomfield
- March 7: Medical education for health care professionals; 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.;”Multidisciplinary Colorectal Cancer Symposium: Inflammatory Bowel Disease and Cancer Risk,” Troy Marriott
- Ongoing: Colorectal Cancer Detection Study- Beaumont Cancer Clinical Trials office seeking participants
- April 6: American Cancer Society’s Rear Saver 5k/8k Walk/Run- Belle Isle
Beaumont Health System’s multidisciplinary cancer and digestive health teams are comprised of highly-trained specialists using advanced technologies to screen, prevent, diagnose and treat colorectal cancer. The Beaumont Cancer Institute is one of only 49 Community Clinical Oncology Programs in the country designated by the National Cancer Institute to provide patients with access to leading-edge cancer clinical research trials. Beaumont has been ranked by U.S. News & World Report as among the top 50 hospitals in the nation for gastroenterology, 16 of the past 18 years.