HOBART – Colorectal cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer in Northwest Indiana and is the second leading cause of cancer deaths, yet it can be successfully treated in 90 percent of cases if it is detected and treated early. This month, St. Mary Medical Center of Hobart is offering two physician presentations that will educate the community about colon cancer as part of National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month.
Also, to emphasize the importance of screenings and early detection in the successful treatment of the disease, the hospital is providing free, iFOBT take-home screening kits to the community at four outpatient laboratory locations in Lake and Porter Counties.
On Wednesday, March 21 at 6 PM, Gastroenterologist Peter Mavrelis, M.D., and Oncologist – Hematologist George Sloan, M.D., will present the program “Colon Cancer: Its Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment” at Outpatient Surgery at Lake Park, 7921 Grand Blvd. in Hobart. They will discuss the risk factors for colon cancer, the importance of screening and early detection, and will review the latest treatment options.
On Tuesday, March 27 at 6 PM, Gastroenterologist Mark Fesenmyer, M.D., and Geneticist Janice Zunich, M.D., will present “Colon Cancer: Screens, Genes and More,” at the Valparaiso Health Center of St. Mary Medical Center, 3800 St. Mary Drive in Valpo. Dr. Fesenmyer will discuss the risk factors, diagnosis and treatments for colon cancer, and Dr. Zunich will present the role genetics plays in the disease. She will also explain how genetic testing can help educate cancer patients and their family members about who may be at risk for the disease.
Both presentations are free and open to the public. To register, call 219-836-3477 or toll-free 866-836-3477.
One in three adults over age 50 in the United States is not being screened for colorectal cancer, according to Roxanne Karnes, BSN, OCN, Cancer Care Services manager at St. Mary Medical Center. Studies show that screening and treatment advances have made the disease very treatable if caught early.
“Many people avoid getting screened due to a fear of a cancer diagnosis,” Karnes said. “Most people who get screened don’t have cancer, and in cases where a colonoscopy reveals pre-cancerous polyps, these can be removed before developing into cancer. For patients receiving a cancer diagnosis, the earlier the cancer is detected the better chance of having successful treatment and recovery, but it all begins with screenings.”
The Cancer Care Center of St. Mary Medical Center is providing free, iFOBT take-home screening kits while supplies last at four outpatient laboratory locations: the hospital’s Outpatient Lab (East entrance), 1500 S. Lake Park Blvd.; Outpatient Surgery at Lake Park, 7921 Grand Blvd.; Portage Health Center II, 3545 Arbors Blvd., Portage; and the Valparaiso Health Center, 3800 St. Mary Dr. Screening kits come with full instructions and return information. Completed kits must be returned with signed consent forms to registration at one of the above locations in the specimen bag provided. Screening kits are available in March while supplies last.
St. Mary Medical Center is one of three hospitals of Northwest Indiana-based Community Healthcare System, which also includes Community Hospital in Munster and St. Catherine Hospital in East Chicago. For more information about the Cancer Care Services of Community Healthcare System, go to comhs.org/cancer.