March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month

March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month
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Linda Dawe, Colon Cancer Survivor
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Doctors and survivors are urging Mississippians to get checked for colon cancer. MPB's Ashley Norwood reports.

Linda Dawe is retired and living on the Mississippi coast. A wife and mother of three college-aged kids, Dawe says she's always on the go. Results from a doctor visit two years ago slowed her down.

"Went to my routine colonoscopy that morning, thinking everything was going to be fine. And I Woke up to the doctor telling me they found a three-by-six centimeter tumor and they were pretty sure it was cancerous," said Dawe.

Dawe was diagnosed with stage three colon cancer. It is currently the second most deadly cancer in the nation. Researchers expect to diagnose more than 130,000 new cases this year.

Dr. James Sones is the Chief of the Division of Digestive Diseases at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. He says colon cancer is highly preventable but less than 70 percent of adults in Mississippi are getting checked.

"Well, Mississippi is an epicenter, one of several in the country where colon cancer is extremely prevalent particularly in the Delta area of Mississippi. We are not certain completely of the causes of this but we know one of the causes is our poor rate of getting screened," said Sones.

Thirty-one treatments of radiation, chemotherapy, and a surgery later, Dawe says she doesn't want anyone else fighting the same battle she did.

"If you have signs or symptoms, if you think it's hemorrhoid or if you have blood in your stool, go to your doctor and get checked. I don't want anyone joining my cancer club at all," said Dawe.

March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. Ashley Norwood, MPB News.