Dr. Carl Overmiller, general surgeon at Jackson General Hospital, was the speaker for the Ripley Rotary luncheon on Wednesday, March 6. Overmiller focused on the topic of colorectal cancer (CRC).

CRC is the third most common type of cancer in both men and women and is the second leading cause of cancer death.

March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness month and “Don’t Assume” is the Colorectal Cancer Alliance’s (CCA) 2019 National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month public awareness campaign.

The goal of the “Don’t Assume” campaign is to challenge assumptions and misconceptions about colorectal cancer by dispelling myths, raising awareness, and connecting people across the country with information and support.

CRC occurs in the colon or rectum. The colon is part of the large intestine or large bowel. The rectum is the passageway that connects the colon to the anus. The term colorectal cancer is used to describe colon cancer, rectum cancer or both.

When discovered early, CRC is treatable. Even if the cancer spreads into the lymph nodes nearby, surgical treatment along with chemotherapy is highly effective.

Most colorectal cancers develop first as polyps, which are abnormal growths inside the colon or rectum that may later become cancerous if not removed.

The American Cancer Society (ACS) lists the most common factors for CRC that an individual can change is being overweight, lack of physical activity, certain types of diets, smoking, and heavy alcohol usage.

Overmiller noted that Irritable Bowel Syndrome is not associated with CRC.

Risk factors that cannot be changed would be age and heredity.

In 2018 the ACS changed the minimum age for those with an average risk of CRC from 50 to 45 years of age. An individual without a history of polyps or CRC is recommended to have a colonoscopy every 10 years from the age of 45 through 75.

“I would estimate that 80 percent of the surgical procedures we perform at JGH are endoscopies and colonoscopies,” Overmiller said. “Screening is the key to preventing colon cancer.”

In other business:

• The Rotary meeting scheduled for Wednesday, March 27 will be cancelled.

• Rotary Club Charter Night will be at Sorella Ristorante at 6 p.m. on Thursday, March 28.