March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

Cancer Center Recognizes National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month in March


(Baton Rouge) One in 20 people in the United States will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer during their lifetime, according to the National Cancer Institute. And while more than 90 percent of new cases occur in people 50 and older, colorectal cancer has become a reality for many people younger than age 50, and it is the only group in which incidence rates are on the rise. The Colorectal Cancer Multidisciplinary Care (MDC) Team at Mary Bird Perkins – Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center urges people to talk to their physician about prevention and early detection of colorectal cancer.
Louis Barfield, MD, chair of the Colorectal Cancer MDC Team, says that when colorectal cancer is found at an early stage before it spreads, the 5-year relative survival rate improves to about 90 percent. Throughout March, recognized as National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, as well as throughout the year, the MDC team shares the lifesaving message of early detection.

“Avoidance of colorectal cancer screening is a big problem, and many people are getting colonoscopies too late,” said Dr. Barfield.  “Many times, cancer can be avoided through the removal of a polyp during screening. The more advanced cancers we see are often associated with a late stage diagnosis.”

Risk factors for colorectal cancer include:

  • Age 50 and older
  • A personal history of colorectal cancer or adenomatous polyps
  • A personal history of inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease)
  • A strong family history of colorectal cancer or polyps
  • A known family history of a hereditary colorectal cancer syndrome such as familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) or Lynch syndrome (hereditary non-polyposis colon cancer or HNPCC)

The Cancer Center offers an array of colorectal cancer services. Some of these resources include:

  • A MDC team consisting of physicians and support staff that provides a focused approach to the prevention and treatment of colorectal cancer
  • National Cancer Institute clinical trials
  • Free fecal immunochemical testing (FIT) kits, available at community cancer screenings
  • Radiation therapy, chemotherapy  and surgery

For information on any of the topics mentioned here, please visit

As a regional destination for cancer care, Mary Bird Perkins – Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center offers the most advanced technology and services provided by a dedicated team of nationally-recognized oncology experts. The Cancer Center provides best-practice, comprehensive care at every stage of the cancer journey, including disease site-specific multidisciplinary care teams, a robust clinical research program and extensive supportive care services. As a nonprofit organization, donor generosity is essential to sustaining the mission of improving survivorship and lessening the burden of cancer for so many throughout Southeast Louisiana and beyond. For more information on the Cancer Center, and how you can become involved, please visit