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Event Thursday highlights importance of screening for colon cancer

The event is free to the public and set for Thursday, March 30, 2023, at 6 p.m. at Bartlett United Methodist Church.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A community event is coming up in Bartlett, bringing awareness to colon cancer.

A panel of doctors and professionals from the Methodist Cancer Institute will be on hand to discuss and answer questions about colorectal cancer.

“It’s important to know that the screening age for colon and rectal cancer is now 45 years old. If colon cancer runs in your family, you may require a colonoscopy even earlier than 45,” said Dr. Paul Johnson, Colon and Rectal Surgeon with Methodist Hospital.

The event will include information on how those ages 45 and up with and without insurance can get at-home screening kits.

“60% of patients who are presenting to care are presenting in late stages. So, we want to make sure that all patients whether they have insurance or not are getting a colonoscopy or some form of screening,” said Dr. Johnson. “If you are 45 and older, I’m encouraging you to go out and get your colonoscopy.”

Dr. Johnson said colorectal cancer is very common and is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths for men and women in the United States.

“One thing I want to impress upon the public is that we don’t wanna wait for symptoms. Because colorectal cancer is typically asymptomatic in its early stages. So, unfortunately when you have the symptoms of abdominal pain, bleeding, changes in your stool color or caliber, those are usually late filing,” said Dr. Johnson.

Early screening can make a big difference in the outcome.

“In the colon and rectal wall there may be abnormal growths called polyps. And if they are seen during a colonoscopy, they can be removed and that risk of developing to cancer now becomes zero. So, colon cancer is preventable, treatable and beatable,” he said.

“I chose colon rectal surgery because it was a Cancer type that disproportionately affected people of color. Also, it is a disease process that if cut early and with surgery had pretty good outcomes,” said Dr. Johnson. “Another reason I went into colorectal surgery is that every day looks different. One day you’re doing colonoscopies. Another day you’re doing outpatient cases like hemorrhoids or fissures, and then one day you’re doing major abdominal cases.”

The event is free to the public and set for Thursday, March 30, 2023, at 6 p.m. at Bartlett United Methodist Church. That’s at 5676 Stage Rd. Registration is suggested. To register, go to https://www.methodisthealth.org/event/chn-free-colorectal-cancer-awareness-event.

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