March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month

March 12, 2024 

Doctors urge those 45 up to get regular colon cancer screenings

 OCONTO FALLS, Wis. – With March being Colon Cancer Awareness Month, Prevea Health and HSHS St. Clare Memorial Hospital remind everyone 45-years-old and older to receive regular screenings. Colon cancer is now the leading cause of cancer death in men and the second leading cause of cancer death for women under the age of 50, according to the American Cancer Society’s annual cancer statistics report. These new statistics are of concern as two decades ago colon cancer was the fourth leading cause of death for men and women in the U.S.

Dr. Mohamed Azab, Prevea gastroenterologist, says by detecting potential precancerous polyps through a colonoscopy, doctors and patients have a better chance of preventing and treating the disease before it spreads or grows.

“When precancerous polyps are discovered early during a screening our team can utilize minimally invasive procedures and other approaches to remove the cancer,” said Dr. Azab. “It’s important for people to know that this disease is preventable, especially if the polyps are removed prior to them fully developing into cancer.”

While many will not have to schedule their first colonoscopy until the age of 45, Dr. Azab urges those with a higher risk of developing the disease, or those with a family history of colorectal cancer to talk with their primary care physician about being screened earlier. For those who receive a colonoscopy with clean results, most will not to have to schedule another screening for several years.

“It’s estimated that up to one-third of the people diagnosed with colon cancer, before the age of 50, have a family history of the disease,” said Dr. Azab. “For this reason, I encourage those with family history of colon cancer to talk to their primary care provider about scheduling a colonoscopy even earlier.”

To schedule a colon cancer screening in Oconto Falls with Dr. Azab or Dr. Benjamin Andrew at HSHS St. Clare Memorial Hospital, a referral from a primary care physician is required. You can schedule an appointment with a Prevea primary care physician in Oconto Falls by calling (920) 846-8187 or by visiting

For more information about colonoscopies and what a patient should expect from the procedure, visit

About Prevea Health  
Prevea Health is a community of passionate and accomplished physicians, caregivers and staff working together to provide exceptional health care. Patients have trusted Prevea with their medical care needs since 1996 when the organization was founded in Green Bay, Wis. Today, Prevea provides primary care and a wide range of specialty medical care in clinic, hospital, and workplace settings across Northeast Wisconsin. It is partnered with Hospital Sisters Health System (HSHS) which operates hospitals in Wisconsin. For more information about Prevea Health, visit

About HSHS St. Clare Memorial Hospital
HSHS St. Clare Memorial Hospital serves Oconto Falls and the surrounding communities as a federally designated critical access hospital with a 24-hour emergency department; inpatient and outpatient surgical and diagnostic services; cancer care; therapy and rehabilitation; wound care; the Almost Home Swing Bed program; and more. It was founded as Oconto Falls City Hospital in 1921 and became HSHS St. Clare Memorial Hospital in 2014 when it joined Hospital Sisters Health System (HSHS). As an affiliate of HSHS, HSHS St. Clare Memorial Hospital draws on the history of St. Francis of Assisi as it serves the health care needs of the region in Christ’s healing ministry, caring for all people. HSHS St. Clare Memorial Hospital also has five rural health center locations in affiliation with Prevea Health in Gillett, Lena, Mountain, Oconto Falls and Suring; and operates HSHS Pharmacies in Gillett and Oconto Falls, and HSHS Prescription Services (remote dispensing sites) in Lena, Mountain and Pulaski. In 2022, HSHS St. Clare Memorial Hospital was named a Top 100 Critical Access Hospital in the U.S. by The Chartis Center for Rural Health. For more information about St. Clare, please visit:

About Hospital Sisters Health System 
Hospital Sisters Health System’s (HSHS) mission is to reveal and embody Christ’s healing love for all people through our high-quality Franciscan healthcare ministry. HSHS provides compassionate, quality healthcare to our patients and is dedicated to serving all people, especially the most vulnerable. HSHS operates physician practices and 15 local hospitals in two states – Illinois (Breese, Decatur, Effingham, Greenville, Highland, Litchfield, O’Fallon, Shelbyville, and Springfield) and Wisconsin (Chippewa Falls, Eau Claire, Oconto Falls, Sheboygan, and two in Green Bay). HSHS is sponsored by Hospital Sisters Ministries, and Hospital Sisters of St. Francis is the founding institute. For more information about HSHS, visit
March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month
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Angela Deja

Director, Public Relations and Communications