I want to let you know that March is Colon Cancer Awareness month and it’s a good time to tell you about the importance of completing your colon cancer screening. You might ask why a pediatrician is focused on encouraging colon cancer screenings? Isn’t it a disease that affects primarily middle-age to older adults? I am promoting the importance because I am a physician, preventative screenings are very important, and because I care about your family. Every time a loved one is diagnosed with cancer, it affects the entire family and I have experienced this first-hand.

Colon cancer, if detected early through regular screenings, is very treatable. Too often though, it is identified in the late stages of the disease for which there is no cure. Unfortunately, this was exactly my mother’s case. She did not follow the guidelines for colon cancer screenings and she started to have symptoms that were concerning to her. By the time she went to her doctor, it was too late, and hospice was her only option. Sadly, she never got to know her grandchildren. Cancer can affect an entire family across generations.

So, please, I urge you to talk to your primary care doctor about colon cancer screenings. You or a loved one may be eligible. Remember, early disease detection is key to successful treatment. And, children want their parents and grandparents in their lives!

Dr. Paula Gustafson
MHP Chief Medical Officer & Pediatrician