Omaha Public Radio News
1:20 pm
Mon March 22, 2010

Creighton offering two seminars on colon cancer awareness, screening

Omaha, NE – March is colon cancer awareness month, and Creighton University plans to hold two seminars about the importance of being screened.

The colon cancer survival rate is more than 90 percent if cancer is caught early and treated. A colonoscopy, CT scans, x-rays, and blood tests can detect if colon cancer is present. Doctor Bennie Upchurch is chairman of the gastroenterology program at Creighton University Medical Center. He says while screening rates are improving, less than half of those eligible to be screened for colon cancer actually are. Doctor Upchurch says there are three main reasons why: people aren't asked about screening, are afraid of the test or not willing to take the preparation for it.

Doctor Upchurch says possible warning signs of colon cancer are bleeding, abdominal pain and changes in bowel habits. But he says usually people don't experience any symptoms.

Risk factors for colon cancer include age, with 90 percent of cases in people over 50. Other factors include family history, a diet high in fat and red meat, obesity, smoking, and conditions such as Crohn's Disease.

The first seminar is March 23rd at the Skutt Student Center. The second is March 30th at the Medical Center.