Local hospitals work to raise awareness for colon cancer

DAVENPORT, Iowa (KWQC) - March is colorectal cancer awareness month, and local hospitals are working to raise awareness for this specific type of cancer.

According to the Colon Cancer Coalition, this form of cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed.

The Coalition reports, the rates of colon cancer have been declining among older adults, the more common age group to be diagnosed, but increasing in adults under the age of 50.

Genesis has experts like Genetic Oncology Nurse Practitioner, Leslie Poston, working to examine genetic links between cancer and specific patients.

"So there is a genetic link for colon cancer that can effect cancer, or can impact those people earlier ages than we would expect," said Poston. "So, there are a couple of red flags that we look out for. People diagnosed with colon cancer under the age of 50 with family histories, with or without family histories I guess, are those people we want to try to catch to see if there is a genetic link going on in the family."

Davenport resident Amy Vargas was diagnosed with colon cancer in May of 2016, before she was even 40.

"I had no family history of colon cancer at all," said Vargas. "In fact, when I was diagnosed the doctors were kind of shocked. I was 38 years old."

But, Vargas said she had symptoms for about a year before going to a doctor. Now, she urges anyone with doubts to get checked-out.

"If anything is different at all, go to your doctor," said Vargas. "Don't second guess it. If anything seems out of ordinary, and stays out of the ordinary, it's extremely important to get to a doctor and get it checked."

Vargas had to go through various treatments including chemotherapy. In December of 2016, she received her final chemo treatment.

Genesis has various programs to raise awareness for colon cancer, one of them includes inflating a giant colon display each year.

For more information on Genesis' efforts and colon cancer, head to their website. For web users, the link can be found to the right of the article. For mobile users, the link can be found directly under this story.