HMH patient encourages colon cancer screenings

news enterprise storyThe News-Enterprise on Monday, March 6, published a story on Scott Squires’ battle with colon cancer. Squires, a Hardin Memorial Health Cancer Care patient, had a team of people working on his cure, including his wife Mary Ann Squires, a radiation therapist at HMH. (Read the story here.)

Squires is quick to encourage people to complete important colon cancer screenings because “turning 50 saved my life,” he said.

Risk of colon cancer increases for people age 50 or older so routine screenings are encouraged for those in this age group.

Colon cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer-related deaths in men and the third-leading cause in women in the United States. No one is immune, and almost 100,000 new cases are discovered each year. For these reasons, screening is very important because it can reduce risk of cancer by up to 90 percent. If precancerous polyps are found during a screening, they can be removed before becoming cancer.

March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month, and HMH encourages everyone to understand the risk factors for colon cancer.

Risk factors for Colon Cancer include:
• 50 years or older
• Family history of colon cancer or colorectal polyps
• African American
• History of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
• Type 2 diabetes
• Diet low in fiber
• Physically inactive
• History of genetic syndrome (i.e., Familial Adenomatous Polyposis (FAP) or hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer)

In most cases, colon cancer screenings are low cost or covered by insurance. Screening options include colonoscopy, high-sensitivity FOBT (Stool Test), Flexible Sigmoidoscopy and Double Contrast Barium Enema.

If you meet one or more of the colon cancer risk factors or have questions, please contact your primary care provider or HMH to schedule a screening. Learn more about HMH screenings here.