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HMC offers colorectal cancer seminar

By Johnny Jackson

jjackson@henryherald.com

Officials at Henry Medical Center are attempting to educate the public about colorectal cancer, and how to properly screen for the disease.

"We're targeting the general adult population to educate the public on what guidelines they should follow to screen for colorectal cancer," said Vicky Ayers, a registered nurse and community educator for Henry Medical Center in Stockbridge.

Ayers said the hospital is planning a seminar on the disease this summer to inform the public about ways to detect colorectal cancer, also known as colon or rectal cancer.

Dr. Hitesh R. Chokshi, of Atlanta Gastroenterology Associates, LLC, is scheduled to speak during the seminar, and what area residents need to know about screenings. The seminar will last from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., on July 29, in the hospital's Foundation Education Center, located at 1133 Eagle's Landing Parkway in Stockbridge.

"We've had an awareness campaign every year, usually around the summer," said Ayers, who believes the screenings will produce more early diagnoses.

Colorectal cancer is the third-most-common cancer diagnosed in men and women in the United States, and the third-leading cause of cancer death, according to the American Cancer Society.

ACS describes the cancer as cancer cells which spread from the colon, or the rectum, as a growth of tissue, and can grow into blood vessels and travel to nearby lymph nodes, or metastasize in other parts of the body, such a the liver.

The American Cancer Society notes that people may be able to reduce their risk with regular screening, by watching their weight, and being physically active.

The Atlanta-based health organization suggests that people who have no identified risk factors - other than age -- should begin testing for colon cancer at age 50.

Ayers said those who have a family history of colorectal cancer, or have other conditions, such as inflammatory bowel disease, should get screened and contact their physician.

She said take-home colorectal kits will be available for participants of the upcoming seminar, and will help resident be able to check for hidden blood in the stool.

For more information on the colorectal cancer seminar, call the Henry Medical Center Community Education Department at (678) 604-1040, or visit www.henrymedical.com.