A Rockford Hospital and two community organizations have teamed up to fight colon cancer.
"Its an important disease but its a preventable disease," Rockford Gastroenterologist Dr.Aaron Shiels said.
There are about 135 thousand new cases of colon cancer every year according to Shiels. Experts say it's one of the deadliest forms of cancer.
"The life time risk of developing colon cancer is approximately 5 %, that's for both men and women, but there are certain demographics which are at high risks," Shiels said. "African Americans have about a 20% higher risks of developing colon cancer during their lifetime."
However, despite the higher risk Dr. Shiels said statistics show that African Americans and Hispanics are less likely to get screened for colon cancer.
"People just don't like the idea of a colonoscopy," Shiels said. "Its an invasive procedure."
That's why Rockford Memorial Hospital is helping to host workshops on the importance of screenings later this month.
"Hopefully we plan to see an increase overall compliance among high risk groups like African American and Latinos," RMS Manager of Endoscopy Shannon Posley said.
Dorothy Reddic is President of the Black Healthcare Initiative Coalition and volunteers as a local investigator for the epics project, which will co-host these workshops with RMH.
She said all groups involved have an interest in increasing education especially during March, which is colon cancer awareness month.
"It was a great collaboration because each one of us have different people that we can reach and access and invite to attend the training class," Reddic said.
During these workshops participants will learn signs and symptoms of colon cancer and how to make lifestyle changes to improve health, diet, and exercise.
plus they'll learn about important preventative measures.
"Colonoscopy can identify polyps, remove them, and prevent colon cancer," Shiel's said. "In addition colonoscopies can also identify colon cancer at an earlier stage, where its potentially more treatable."
Classes will be held March 15th, 22nd, and 29th at Rockford Memorial Hospital's Ingersoll Building in classrooms 3 and 4 from 6:00pm until 8:00pm.