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Colon Cancer Deaths Down in U.S….but Not in Mississippi

By Daniel Cherry | Published 08 Jul 2011 05:01pm | comments

Colon cancer deaths are on the decline across the country, but not in Mississippi. MPB's Daniel Cherry reports how health care providers are hoping to address that problem.

 

Mississippi is the only state in the nation to not see an improvement in the rate of colon cancer deaths according to a study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Healthcare providers say the best way to get on track with the rest of the country is to make a push to increase screening measures.

Marvin Powell is getting a checkup at Dr. Timothy Quinn's office in Jackson. He says he took the advice to get checked for colon cancer because he wants to see his twins continue to grow up.

"How long do you want to be here with them? I want to be around to see them have children. I want to be there for their children, but if I don't take care of me that's not going to happen. We all have to ask ourselves: How long do we want to live?"

African American men are at the highest risk of dying from colon cancer. Dr. Quinn says it's one of the more preventable forms of cancer, but it's hard to get tested when you don't have the means.

"There is less preventive diagnostic testing. There are less resources in this population, and there's also less information as far as people being informed on how important it is to go out and get these screenings."

Screenings and prevention can be a problem in poorer areas with much less access to health care. But Marvin Powell says if there's going to be a change education efforts are going to have to improve.

"You're going to have to flood people's lives with this almost to every corner to get them to realize: This is my health. Not somebody else. This is my health. This is me they're talking about. And get people to the point where they're going to have to start taking responsibility."

Those with colon cancer often experience severe stomach cramps, bleeding, and diarrhea. Health care officials say those who wait until they experience these symptoms before getting screening are often too late.

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