March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month
(Baton Rouge, La.) Colorectal Cancer, the second leading cause of cancer death in Louisiana, is a disease that people are often too embarrassed to talk about. However, Mary Bird Perkins-Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center’s Colorectal Cancer Multidisciplinary Care Team (MDC Team) is parlaying National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month in March into greater awareness of this disease in the Baton Rouge community.
“Colon cancer is one of the most curable of all the cancer diseases if caught early,” said Dr. Louis Barfield, colorectal surgeon and chair of the Colorectal Cancer MDC Team. “National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month provides us with a platform to share the life-saving message of early detection and raise awareness about who should be screened and when.”
Colorectal Cancer mortality rates are high throughout the country because symptoms usually do not develop until later stages, making the disease harder to treat. The Colorectal Cancer MDC Team, comprised of surgeons, medical and radiation oncologists and other specialists from a variety of disciplines, hope its education efforts will help increase early detection, curtail mortality rates and promote earlier treatment in the disease process.
Fifty is the recommended age to begin colorectal cancer screening, unless there is a family history, in which case screening should start earlier. Other factors such as obesity, sedentary life style, smoking and the amount of intake of red meat can all increase the risk of colorectal cancer. Dr. Barfield recommends that individuals speak to their doctor before being screened to determine if it is the right choice for them.
“We’ve seen how early detection can save lives and it’s important for people to have an in-depth conversation with their doctor about being screened, said Dr. Barfield. “Screening is our strongest defense against colorectal cancer.”
Colonoscopies are considered the gold standard for detecting cancer, but the Cancer Center also offers free take-home kits, an alternative for those without insurance coverage. The kits, known as fecal immunochemical tests (FIT), detect blood in the stool and can provide early detection of cancer.
To learn more about the Cancer Center’s free cancer screenings or Colorectal MDC Team, visit www.mbpolol.org or call (225) 215-1234.
Mary Bird Perkins-Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center is the most comprehensive cancer center in Louisiana offering patients the convenience of receiving high-quality, advanced care close to home. The Cancer Center is part of the National Cancer Institute Community Cancer Centers Program (NCCCP), a group of competitively selected cancer centers that is developing a national model for community cancer care.