Affordable, non-invasive test helps screen for colon cancer
Only 59 percent of eligible Oklahomans are screened for colon cancer. Morton Comprehensive Health Services hopes to improve those numbers.
Family physician Dr. Sha-Rhonda Morton and Morton Comprehensive Health Services’ Chief Nursing Officer Cassie Clayton, who happen to be mother and daughter, encourage patients to be screened for colon cancer.
But early awareness and prevention can help.
Morton Comprehensive Health Services’ Chief Nursing Officer Cassie Clayton and family physician Dr. Sha-Rhonda Morton take colon health seriously and are working to increase awareness and prevention strategies.
In 2017, the health service received a grant from the Colon Cancer Coalition and Get Your Rear in Gear to provide fecal immunochemical tests (FIT) and follow-ups for uninsured patients. The test is affordable and non-invasive.
“Everyone is susceptible,” Morton says, “but you’ll usually see (colon cancer) after age 50, so that is when most screenings start.” Men and women have a similar risk factor, but those with a family history of colon cancer or who are African American have a higher incidence, so screenings start earlier.
In Oklahoma, only 59 percent of eligible Oklahomans are screened for colon cancer, according to the Colon Cancer Coalition. The health service hopes to improve those numbers.
More extensive tests allow a physician to look inside the colon, but can be costly. That’s why Clayton and Morton are strong proponents of FIT, which can indicate warning signs that might go unnoticed. “The first thing is blood in the stool, which is why the FIT test is so important,” Morton says.
“By the time there are abdominal pains or blood you can see — those are bad signs,” Clayton adds. “Screenings are very important in this case. You are going to be fine, until you’re not.”
March 10 — Get Your Rear in Gear 5K
8-11 a.m. Guthrie Green, 111 E. M. B. Brady St. $25-$30.
Benefits Colon Cancer Coalition.
By the numbers
1 in 20 develops colon cancer.
1 in 3 over age 50 has not been screened.
1 in 10 colon cancer patients is diagnosed before age 50.
Source: Colon Cancer Coalition
You might enjoy: