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Living Journeys and Gunnison Valley Health Celebrate Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

In honor of Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, Gunnison Valley Health and Living Journeys are coming together to educate and raise awareness. The goal of the collaborative campaign is to help people understand the recommendations and resources available in the Gunnison Valley.

According to the American Cancer Society, an estimated 151,030 people will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer and 52,580 deaths will occur in 2022. Living Journeys Executive Director, Julie Reid, said highlighting the importance of screening and prevention can save lives.

“Colorectal cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer in the United States and incidence rates among those under the age of 50 are on the rise,” Reid said. “I want to ensure that people understand their screening options and everything that is available to them right here in the valley. No one has to face cancer alone; Living Journeys is here to help support you in the process – from prevention to screening to treatment.”

It is recommended that all adults aged 45 begin screening for colorectal cancer. Screening can prevent cancer through the detection and removal of precancerous growths and detect the disease at an early stage, when treatment is usually more successful. The most common screening for colorectal cancer is a colonoscopy which is performed at Gunnison Valley Health by the general surgeons.

Unfortunately, it is estimated that one third of eligible adults are not up to date on recommend screenings. Gunnison Valley Health CEO, Jason Amrich, said that the health system wants to continue to expand screening capability and work with non-profits like Living Journeys to support the community.

“I am thankful that we have strong non-profits like Living Journeys working alongside us as we continue to connect people with health care,” Amrich said. “We are currently looking at how we can increase our capacity for colonoscopy and decrease wait times. My goal is to continue expanding and improving preventative medicine options in the Gunnison Valley including colorectal cancer screenings.”

The two groups will be sharing resources and information throughout the month, culminating with an education event at the Crested Butte Center for the Arts on March 28.

“We want to ensure that people understand the recommendations and their options and feel comfortable discussing colorectal cancer,” Amrich said.

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