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Colon cancer 2nd leading cause of cancer death; survivors and supporters gather

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POSTED: Monday, March 17, 2014 - 5:54pm

UPDATED: Tuesday, March 18, 2014 - 8:03am

While some folks are celebrating St. Patrick's Day, one group is celebrating a special day, in a different way.

"We're celebrating the fact that cancer survivorship especially for our colorectal cancer patients has really improved so much," said Director of Clinical Support at Cancer Services of Greater Baton Rouge, Esther Sachse.  March is National Colorectal Cancer Month and survivors, caregivers, and supporters joined together to see how the face of treatment is changing.  "There's so much to celebrate in terms of people being able to leadnormal lives," added Sachse.

Colorectal cancer affects the large intestine.   It's the second leading cause of cancer death in Louisiana and doctors say it doesn't discriminate.  "It can happen to anyone, both men or women. It most commonly affects those over the age of fifty," said Colorectal cancer surgeon, Dr. Kelly Finan.  There's very few signs and symptoms."  Some symptoms include a change in bowel function in abdominal pain. Doctors urge you to begin screening if you're over the age of fifty--earlier ifthere's a family history. "Ignorance isn't bliss," added Dr. Finan.  But even if you don't see those signs, you should get things checked out.  "A lot of people try to avoid colonoscopy, I think they fear the prep, it's not as easy as walking in to get a mammogram, I agree. A bowel prep and a colonoscopy is a whole lot better than being diagnosed with a colon cancer and needing chemo," she added.  Attendee Mirra Miller chimed in, "It is so important."

Mirra knows. She's a colon cancer survivor.  "I was diagnosed which was a year ago," she added. 

It hasn't been an easy road for her.  "I think i fell apart after my chemo was over and I had to resume my life and i didn't know what to do."  But now, she's on her way  "I've gone back to work part time, joined a gym, I'm exercising.  I'm connecting again.  And between the stories of hard times and the stories of hope, these fighters and their fans say, they're still in the ring. 


For information on the Get your Rear in Gear 5K sponsored by the Colon Cancer Coalition, visit this link

For information on free cancer screenings or the colorectal MDC team, click here  or call 225-215-1234.

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