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Prevea Doctor Emphasizes the Importance of Colon Cancer Screenings

March 18, 2024 

OCONTO FALLS, Wis.  A new report from the American Cancer Society reveals 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. These new statistics are of concern, considering just two decades ago colon cancer was the fourth leading cause of death for both men and women in the U.S.

With March being Colon Cancer Awareness Month, Prevea Health gastroenterologist, Dr. Mohamed Azab, encourages those aged 45 to 75 to stay up to date on their colon cancer screenings. Dr. Azab performs colonoscopies at HSHS St. Clare Memorial Hospital in Oconto Falls. These screenings can help detect potential cancers in their early stages, providing doctors a better chance of both preventing and treating the disease before it spreads or grows.

“When cancerous 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 folks to know that this disease is preventable, especially if the polyps are removed early, prior to them fully developing into cancer.” Many people will not have to schedule their first colonoscopy until the age of 45. But for those with a family history of colon cancer, or for those at high risk of developing the disease, a colonoscopy can be scheduled at a younger age.

“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.”

While more people are being diagnosed with colon cancer at a younger age than in previous decades, Dr. Azab emphasizes that colonoscopies remain the gold standard in detecting the disease in its early stages. He also stresses the importance of lowering the risk of developing the disease by making lifestyle changes to improve one’s overall health.

“Establishing a healthy diet consisting of plenty of vegetables, fruits and high-fiber foods can be a good way to lower a person’s risk of colon cancer,” said Dr. Azab. “Quitting smoking, drinking alcohol only in moderation and establishing an exercise routine can all also help reduce the risk of the disease.”

Colon cancer is a preventable and curable disease, especially if it is discovered early, and the experts at HSHS St. Clare Memorial Hospital and Prevea Health are prepared to provide highly effective screenings, prevention methods and treatment options for colon cancer.

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

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: www.stclarememorial.org.

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 www.hshs.org.
Prevea Doctor Emphasizes the Importance of Colon Cancer Screenings
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Angela Deja

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