It’s a month of colon cancer awareness, and that’s a big deal for Gastroenterology Associates of the Piedmont (GAP) employees who specialize in gastrointestinal tract health. It should be a big deal for you too, since colon health is vital to our overall wellbeing. Use this month as an opportunity to improve your health!
First, let’s put your rear gear in
You are invited to the 9th edition “Get Your Rear in Gear: Winston-Salem”. It is part of a nationwide series of run / walk events where the funds raised are invested directly in our community. The money raised helps the locals – our neighbors – who are affected by colorectal cancer. It also increases educational initiatives and screening levels.
This year’s Get Your Rear in Gear event takes place on Saturday, March 28th, in beautiful Quarry Park in Winston-Salem (pictured on the cover). This is a day of family-friendly fun that includes a live performance of Guilty Party (a band with two doctors from GAP!) And providers of local companies.
More information about the event can be found at Donate.ColonCancerCoalition.org/Winston-Salem.
How does GYRIG affect the community?
Get Your Rear in Gear is an event that is part of the Colon Cancer Coalition. Nationwide, the Colon Cancer Coalition has provided over $ 5 million to support such purposes. Local organizations can apply for grants through the Colon Cancer Coalition to receive donations from an event sponsored by their city.
For example, last year Cancer Services was given a check for $ 10,000 at the event. Cancer Services helps cancer patients across North Carolina, but especially in the Forsyth, Davie, Stokes and Yadkin counties. The services are provided to the patient free of charge and include support such as:
- Patient representation and information;
- Medication and financial support;
- Equipment, accessories, wigs, prostheses;
- Transportation to treatment;
- Wellness groups and lifestyle programs;
- Support from friends.
Who is GAP and how do they fit in with this?
GAP provides care for patients who need colon cancer prevention and screening, as well as diagnosis, treatment, or treatment of digestive system problems. The 16 doctors and five advanced doctors take a teamwork approach to keep up to date with gastroenterology.
What role does GAP play in the “Get Your Rear in Gear” event?
As a local gastroenterological practice and presentation sponsor of the event “Get Your Rear in Gear: Winston-Salem” for colorectal cancer, the GAP team is very concerned about this. They love the opportunity to support their patients and they welcome the opportunity to educate the community about methods of preventing colon cancer. GAP knows that reaching a person with the right message can affect a family for generations.
Did you just say “prevention?”
Yes! There are various “screening” methods of detection, but the goal of GAP is “prevention” with appropriate tests. Colonoscopy can prevent colon cancer because polyps can develop in your colon over time. These polyps are growths that can potentially become cancerous. Colonoscopy allows doctors to remove these polyps from a patient’s colon. Do you think it couldn’t happen to you? In 2019, GAP found polyps before cancer in 44% of patients who had undergone colonoscopy!
Here’s the problem
Colon cancer is preventable, but according to the American Cancer Society …
- 1 in 23 people develop colon cancer;
- It is the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States.
- It is the third most common cancer.
Although current guidelines recommend that colon cancer screening begin between 45 and 50 years of age, diagnosis rates in younger adults have increased significantly in recent years. By 2030, it is predicted that accident rates will increase by 90% in people aged 20 to 34 and by 27.7% in people aged 35 to 49 by 2030.
But there is also a solution
While the increase in colorectal cancer is worrying, the solutions come from:
- Increased awareness;
- Preventive tests;
- Early detection;
- More support for patients.
That helps save lives! If colon cancer is discovered early, the cure rate is around 90%.
What are the symptoms of colorectal cancer?
Colon cancer can grow very slowly. Unfortunately, this often means that the cancer can be at an advanced stage at the time symptoms appear. These symptoms can be:
- Rectal bleeding;
- Change in bowel habits or consistency of your stool;
- The feeling that your bowels are not completely empty;
- A stomach ache;
- Inexplicable weight loss.
If you experience any of these symptoms and they don’t go away on their own, don’t hesitate to ask your doctor for advice!
Should I have a colonoscopy?
As a general recommendation, colonoscopy is the “gold standard” for people over 50 years of age, although certain guidelines have reduced this recommendation to 45. This is because, as mentioned earlier, it is the only screening method that can actually prevent colon cancer.
In addition to age-related factors, there is a higher risk of developing colon cancer if:
- You or a family member have had bowel polyps or bowel cancer in the past.
- You are an African American;
- You are overweight;
- You have Lynch syndrome (an inherited disorder that may pose a higher risk of developing certain cancers later in life);
- You smoke and / or drink alcohol regularly.
Nobody is happy with a colonoscopy, but most people who have had one agree that it was a much easier experience than expected. Regardless, the 2 hours you spend in the office is worth knowing that you are doing the best for your health. Don’t worry – with the advanced sedation methods available today, patients sleep and shouldn’t be able to remember the procedure.
Tips from the doctors
GAP doctors are enthusiastic about their patients and about raising awareness in the community of the importance of colonoscopy. In this context, consider the following tips from the medical team:
- Take all symptoms seriously. There is no “normal” rectal bleeding.
- Get to know your family history – but not just the cases where cancer is involved. It is equally important to know whether a family member has had polyps or Lynch syndrome in the past.
- Maintain healthy weight as a critical factor in overall health and cancer prevention.
- Get a family doctor and schedule annual wellness appointments – an important factor in maintaining overall better health.
- Heard of other screening options? Talk to your doctor or a professional trained by GAP about the advantages and disadvantages of different methods.
It’s time to get your heck started for colorectal cancer prevention! Register for the event and during your stay discuss with your doctor (or one of GAP!) Which screening method is suitable for your age / medical history. Tell your family and friends how to prevent this potentially fatal disease.
The GAP offices are located in Winston-Salem, Kernersville and Clemmons. For more information about services and providers, call 336-448-2427 or gapgi.com,
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