Don’t sit on colon cancer

Published 10:08 pm Thursday, April 5, 2012

Competitors in last year’s Bon Secours 5K for Colon Cancer jostle for position at the start of the race.

Bon Secours has opened registrations for a walk on April 21 to raise money for colon cancer sufferers.

The Bon Secours 5K for Colon Cancer and 1-Mile Fun Walk will raise money for the Bon Secours Foundation Cancer Care Fund, which helps provide care for colon cancer patients.

According to a statement, the race begins at 9 a.m. at Bon Secours Health Center at Harbour View, 5818 Harbour View Boulevard.

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On-site registration and packet pickup begins at 8 a.m., and registration costs $25.

In a statement, Bon Secours gastroenterologist Mark Lawson said colorectal cancer is the No.-2 cancer for American adults in terms of prevalence and deadliness.

But, he added, it is “highly preventable” if caught early.

“Thinking about cancer is scary, but the best way to stop doubt and worry is to be seen by your primary care doctor,” Lawson said.

“Your physician is your greatest ally in avoiding or detecting colorectal cancer.”

High-risk groups for colorectal cancer include smokers, the obese, individuals with a history of inflammatory bowel disease, and those with a family history of colorectal cancer or large or aggressive benign colorectal polyps.

“Once you have spoken with your primary care physician about your risk factors, they can help you determine what colorectal cancer screening schedule is best for you,” Lawson said.

“Nearly 90 percent of all colorectal cancer cases would be prevented if everyone followed the guidelines for screening. Even high-risk patients have preventative options to both increase the chances of finding cancer early, and reduce the risk of a first or second cancer.”

Lawson cited national guidelines recommending that blacks begin their colonoscopy screenings at age 45 to 50. Patients with risk factors may have to start screening even earlier, he said.

The Bon Secours Colorectal Center provides patients with education, diagnosis, treatment and support services, according to its website.

The center is unique in the area in that it performs laparoscopic-assisted colonoscopies, which target polyps quickly and avoids the long recovery time and potential for complications.

Register for the event online at