Screening for colorectal cancer can save lives

March 9, 2018
The Nashua Telegraph - Adam Urquhart

The month of March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month and Southern New Hampshire Medical Center and the Nashua Senior Activity Center have teamed up to host coffee and conversation about colon health.

The free presentation, hosted by the Nashua Senior Activity Center from 10-11 a.m. March 27, is meant to raise awareness about getting screened for colorectal cancer, which is the third most common cancer in the United states and second leading cause of death from cancer.

“With regular screenings, colon cancer can be found early, when treatment is most effective,” Jon V. Flannery Jr., M.D., a colorectal surgeon at SNHMC, said in a press release. “In many cases, screening can prevent colon cancer by finding and removing polyps before they become cancer.”

Colorectal cancer is most commonly found in people ages 50 and older, and 50 is a typical age for screening, although if a first-degree relative (parent or sibling for example) has been diagnosed with it, screening 10 years prior to the age when that relative had it is important.

“If a mother had it at 50 then one’s sister should get screened at 40,” Dr. Flannery said.

He said after getting that initial screening a colonoscopy can be every 10 years.

Certain types of diets, such as high red meat consumption have been shown to cause an increase in chances of being diagnosed with colorectal cancer. He also said, obesity, smoking and heavy alcohol consumption are all implicated in colon cancer.

“The risk factors people can control to decrease their chance of getting colon cancer are

maintaining exercise, limit alcohol consumption, don’t smoke and minimize read meat consumption,” Dr. Flannery said.

Dr. John Friel, from Colon and Rectal surgery of New England had a similar thought.

“Sedentary lifestyle, poor eating habits and smoking are all risk factors for developing colon cancer,”Friel said in a press release. “If you start to experience rectal bleeding, weight loss for no known reason or persistent cramps, gas or bloated, be brave and talk to your doctor right away.”

So, folks who attend the coffee and conversation about colon health will have the opportunity to talk with registered nurses Bethany St. Onge and Jessica McLavey from Southern New Hampshire Health’s endoscopy department.

Attendees of the presentation will get information about screening options, the procedure and a chance to view some of the equipment. Coffee and refreshments will be served. To register for the event, visit or call 577-2255.

Adam Urquhart can be reached at

Posted: 3/9/2018 by Nashua Telegraph - Adam Urquhart