Great Plains Health’s Callahan Cancer Center is a part of the annual statewide effort of the Nebraska Cancer Coalition to heighten awareness of colorectal cancer screening during Colorectal Cancer Awareness month.

This year, the campaign focuses on the official recommended age for colorectal cancer screenings being reduced from 50-45.

Dr. Todd E. Hlavaty, who has served as the medical director of the Callahan Cancer Center at Great Plains Health for nearly three decades, also serves on the board of directors for the Nebraska Cancer Coalition.

“Screenings save lives,” Hlavaty said. “We must be proactive about our health and take screenings seriously because they can make all the difference in a patient leading a long and healthy life with their family.”

The team at the Callahan Cancer Center participated in the #DressInBlueNE campaign on March 3 to raise awareness of colorectal cancer, which is the second deadliest cancer in Nebraska.

Incidences of colorectal cancer diagnosis and death remain higher in Nebraska compared to overall U.S. rates. Additionally, rates of colorectal cancer have increased in recent decades among individuals younger than 50, leading to the official recommended age for colorectal cancer screening being reduced to 45.

“Colorectal cancer screening is critical, as symptoms often only become prevalent in later stages of the disease when it’s much more difficult to fight back. It’s important for Nebraskans ages 45 and older speak with their health care provider about screening as soon as possible, especially those who have postponed appointments because of the pandemic,” said NC2 President Dr. Alan Thorson.

“Colorectal cancer is preventable, treatable and beatable, but you don’t know if you don’t go,” Thorson said.

The crew at the Callahan Cancer Center, dressed in blue to emphasis colorectal cancer awareness. Photo by GPH

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