On Monday, March 5, 2018, Winona Health will be lit up in blue, joining health care organizations across Minnesota in shining a light on the importance of colon cancer screening. A colonoscopy is a simple screening that could save your life.
Winona Health is participating in Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month along with more than 60 civic, public, and private organizations across the state that are banding together to turn Minnesota blue in March to show support for colon cancer survivors and patients, while raising awareness about the importance of screening.
Colorectal cancer is the nation’s number two cancer killer in the United States, but it doesn’t have to be. Screening for this preventable cancer should start at age 50 for those with average risk. What many don’t realize is screening should start earlier for African Americans and other ethnic groups, as well as for individuals with a family history of colon cancer or polyps.
What can be done to reduce the risk of colon cancer? According to the Colon Cancer Coalition, a nonprofit organization based in Minneapolis, Minn.:
• Get screened as recommended, starting at age 50, or earlier for those with certain risk factors.
• Maintain a healthy weight, and adopt a physically-active lifestyle.
• Understand the symptoms, and talk with your doctor if you experience blood in your stool, chronic constipation or unexplained weight loss.
• Consume a healthy diet of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, while limiting consumption of red and processed meats.
• Limit your alcohol consumption and don’t smoke.
“Now if you drive by and see Winona Health lit up in blue, you’ll know why,” said Sandy Gruszynski, cancer care coordinator at Winona Health. “And if you’re due for a colonoscopy, we encourage you to stop worrying about it and get it scheduled.”
Those who haven’t scheduled a colonoscopy because they don’t have a regular health care provider may call 507-545-3650 and say they’d like to establish care with a new health care provider, or they can learn more about local health care providers online at winonahealth.org and click on “Find a Provider.”
Those who already have a health care provider and would like to know more about the general surgeons who perform this screening procedure may visit winonahealth.org and find information about general surgeons Matthew Broghammer, DO; Wen-Yu Vicky Haines, MD, FACS; and Crystal Lumi, MD, FACS.