March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month. Colon cancer screening is very important to the Sherry’s Run organization because of the battle Sherry Whitaker, the namesake of Sherry’s Run, faced with the deadly disease. Sherry was a 44 year old wife and mother of two young boys when she died from colon cancer. She did not have a history of colon cancer in her family and she was under the age for typical recommended screenings.
Colorectal cancer is one of the deadliest, but also one of the most treatable cancers when found early. Colon cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer. It affects men and women equally and people of all races and nationalities. Anyone can get colon cancer.
“The problem is that most patients have no symptoms in the early stages,” said Dr. Jocelyne Miller with Associates in Gastroenterology in Lebanon. “When colon cancer is found in the early stages most patients can be cured. Routine screening can find these early stage, curable cancers and may even prevent some colon cancers from developing.”
“The screening test kits available from the Sherry’s Run organization take just a few minutes and could save your life,” said Dr. Brendan O’Hare with Saint Thomas Medical Partners-Gastroenterology in Lebanon. “The screening test kit doesn’t take the place of a colonoscopy, but it is one of the tests available to help detect colon cancer.”
“The most important thing to remember is some screening is better than none,” said Dr. Mark Miller with Gastrointestinal Health in Lebanon. “There are so many options for screening that there really isn’t an excuse not to be screened for colon cancer. Forty percent of colon cancer patients have a family history, but that leaves sixty percent of patients that have no family history. Screening is just so important for everyone.”
Rates of new colorectal cancer cases and deaths among adults aged 50 and older are decreasing in the United States due to an increase in screenings and changes in some risk factors, according to the National Cancer Institute. However, the incidence of colorectal cancer is increasing among younger adults. According to the National Cancer Institute, based on current U.S. trends, researchers predict that by 2030 colon cancer incidence rates will increase by 90% for people ages 20-34 and by 28% for people aged 35-49.
Sherry’s Run, Wilson County’s largest grassroots cancer fundraising effort, is a non-profit, Christian organization that has helped hundreds of individuals and their families during some of the hardest times of their lives. With community support and involvement, Sherry’s Run helps members of our community year round through support groups; assistance with utilities, housing, prescriptions, medical bills, gas and groceries; and colonoscopy assistance.