Moffitt Cancer Center Recognizes Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

March 01, 2011

TAMPA, Fla. — One in 20 men and women in the United States will be diagnosed with cancer of the colon and rectum during their lifetime. More than 51,000 people died of the disease in 2010. Fortunately the death rate has been decreasing. Through colorectal cancer screening, which should begin at age 50 (or earlier if you have a family history), polyps can be found and removed before they cause cancer.

Patricia Getty waited until she was 55 to have her first colonoscopy. One of two polyps removed turned out to be cancerous, and that’s when she turned to Moffitt Cancer Center. Dr. David Shibata removed 9 inches of her colon, but Getty says she’s lucky. Because the cancer was caught early and she was quick to undergo treatment, she needed only surgery — no chemotherapy or radiation.

“The most important thing is to get that first baseline colonoscopy. I can’t imagine what would have happened if I had waited any longer,” says Getty, 56. “It was an easy, quick test that saved my life.”

Getty, a veteran of the Philadelphia Police Department, is recovering from her surgery in August and is continuing treatment and screening at Moffitt. Getty, who was in the cast of the 2008 movie “Recount,” hopes to put her cancer behind her and pursue her first passion of acting and singing.

Moffitt has many experts available to discuss colorectal cancer, including surgeon Mokenge Malafa, M.D.; radiation oncologist Sarah Hoffe, M.D.; medical oncologist Jonathan Strosberg, M.D.; and gastroenterologist Cynthia Harris, M.D.

Harris stresses the importance of having your screening colonoscopy done by a gastroenterologist. Moffitt has five. If you are interested in scheduling an appointment at Moffitt for a screening, call the New Patient Appointment Center at (813) 745-3980.

SunTrust Goes Blue March 1-6

In honor of Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, the SunTrust Financial Centre, at 401 E. Jackson St., will light its Ziggurat blue for Moffitt!

Ask the Experts … about Colorectal Cancer Prevention & Screening — March 3

Doctors, nurses and dietitians specializing in the prevention and treatment of colorectal cancer will present on cancer screening and prevention, nutrition, and exercise in the Stabile Research Building at Moffitt. Then you’ll have time to ask your colorectal cancer questions. Lunch will be provided. The English session will be from 11 a.m. to noon; lunch is from 12-1 p.m.; the Spanish session is from 1-2. R.S.V.P. to 1-888-MOFFITT (1-888-663-3488); Spanish R.S.V.P. to (813) 745-8701.

Dress in Blue Day — March 4

Colon cancer is 80 percent preventable when detected early. Wear your best blue to promote awareness about colon cancer and encourage people to get their colons checked.

Spotlight on Colorectal Cancer — March 9

Stop by Moffitt’s Patient Library & Welcome Center, on the second floor of the clinic building, to learn more about colorectal cancer prevention, screening and treatment advances. Members of Moffitt’s health care team will be available to answer your questions and provide education from 9:30 a.m. to noon.

Conquering Colorectal Cancer: Treatment Updates — March 21

A panel of doctors and nurses will discuss the latest treatment advances in colorectal cancer, and then you’ll have the opportunity to ask questions. Dinner will be provided in the Stabile Research Building. Reservations are required. R.S.V.P. to 1-888-MOFFITT.

About Moffitt Cancer Center

Located in Tampa, Florida, Moffitt Cancer Center  is an NCI Comprehensive Cancer Center - a designation that recognizes Moffitt’s excellence in research and contributions to clinical trials, prevention and cancer control. Moffitt currently has 14 affiliates in Florida, one in Georgia, one in Pennsylvania and two in Puerto Rico. Additionally, Moffitt is a member of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, a prestigious alliance of the country’s leading cancer centers, and is listed in U.S. News & World Report as one of “America’s Best Hospitals” for cancer. Moffitt marks a very important anniversary this year – 25 years committed to one mission: to contribute to the prevention and cure of cancer.