‘Captain Colon’ promotes lifesaving screening for colorectal cancer

ALBANY — If you see a blue-haired superhero on the streets of Albany this month, she might be out to save your life.
 
Rhonda Green, who manages Horizons Community Solution’s Community Cancer Screening program, adopts the alter ego of “Captain Colon” in March, which is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month.
 
Donning a blue wig, blue tights, white boots, and a cape with the blue star symbolizing colorectal cancer awareness, her lifesaving power is to spread the word that early detection saves lives. She visits local health clinics to encourage people to get screened for colorectal cancer.
 
“People may not want to think about colon cancer, but when they see me in my superhero costume, they smile and then open up to talking about getting tested,” Green said.
 
The CCSP arranges no-cost cancer screening tests for uninsured patients of participating primary care centers. Diane Fletcher, chief executive officer of Horizons, said more than 4,000 Georgians are diagnosed with cancers of the colon and rectum (also known as colorectal cancer) annually. While colorectal cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer deaths in Georgia and the nation, she said, removal of high-risk polyps can prevent most of those cancers from occurring.
 
She added that early detection of a cancer that has already developed can lead to successful treatment.
 
“Prevention and early detection are highly effective in fighting colorectal cancer, yet too many south Georgians have not taken advantage of screening,” Fletcher said.

She said that screening prevents unnecessary suffering and premature deaths from colorectal cancer, but also saves millions of dollars in health care costs by finding cancers early, when they are most curable, and preventing them by having polyps removed.

“Those without health insurance are particularly vulnerable,” Fletcher said.

She said that is why Horizons (formerly the Cancer Coalition of South Georgia) partners with local hospitals, cancer centers and primary care clinics to facilitate screenings and followups for those who cannot otherwise afford the services.

Green said adults 50 and older (45 and older for African Americans) should be tested. She said doctors may prescribe a take-home stool-based test called the fecal immunochemical test that looks for hidden blood in the stool. Others may opt for a colonoscopy performed by specially-trained physicians.

“It’s important that people tell their doctors about their personal or family history of colon cancer and polyps, so they can decide together the best test for them and when they should have it,” Green added.

Since 2008, the CCSP has helped thousands of uninsured South Georgians get access to cancer early detection and treatment through its affiliation with local health care partners.

“But we also want to remind people with health insurance that these lifesaving tests are covered. I encourage them to join me in the fight against colorectal cancer and call their doctors today to schedule a screening,” Green said.

For more information about Horizons Community Solutions and its cancer screening program, call (229) 352-9100 or visit www.horizonscommunity.org.
 
To read the original article in The Albany Herald, click here.
 
Photo credited to Horizons Community Solutions.