Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month: Importance of getting checked early

March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. News 25’s Janae Jordan spoke with a cancer survivor and doctor on the importance of getting checked early.

“I honestly thought that I couldn’t eat nuts anymore. I thought I had diverticulitis. I didn’t realize that it was something deeper.”

Jennifer Dupree was living her life, raising her daughter, not thinking that at just 38-years-old she would be diagnosed with colorectal cancer, the second deadliest cancer in the United States according to the Colorectal Cancer Alliance. “You don’t expect to hear you have cancer, but I think that it was very important for me to understand that it didn’t mean that it was a death sentence.”

Dupree was diagnosed in November 2022 and in December, Singing River Health System Colon and Rectal Surgeon Dr. Ramon Brown performed a robotic surgery to remove the mass out of her colon. “We removed that portion of the bowel on the inside of the abdomen through small holes in the belly and removed that portion of the bowel, put it back together, and made sure that everything stayed together.”

After a successful surgery, Dupree can now say “I am cancer free and I think that this is the best feeling in the world.”

Early onset colon cancer has been increasing by two percent per year since 1994 and getting screened early can find the warning signs. Because so many young adults are being diagnosed with colorectal cancer, the colon cancer screening age has been moved to 45. Dr. Brown said, “The population needs to pay attention to their symptoms, abdominal pain, bleeding from the bottom, change in bowel habits, those are things that need to be brought up to a primary care doctor and if you don’t have a primary care doctor, get one.”

With March being Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, the goal is to spotlight the disease and inspire more people to know the signs and get checked. “It is important to listen to your body and to know the signs and to be aware and don’t be afraid.”

Categories: Local News, News