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Dignity Health Central Coast Hospitals Recognize Colon Cancer Awareness Month


Arroyo Grande Community Hospital (AGCH), French Hospital Medical Center (FHMC), and Marian Regional Medical Center (MRMC), which are Dignity Health Central Coast hospitals, recognize the significance of March as National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month.

In acknowledgment of this month, Marian Cancer Care at Mission Hope Cancer Center is pleased to offer an informational session to explain the importance of a colonoscopy.

Join our physician experts from Santa Maria Gastroenterology on Saturday, March 12 at 10:00 a.m. as they discuss risk factors, screening recommendations, what to expect during a colonoscopy, and the latest treatment options for colorectal cancer. This informal conversation will be held Mission Hope Cancer Center, 1325 East Church Street, Santa Maria.

In addition to this informational session, Mission Hope Cancer Center has partnered with Paramjit Benipal, M.D., Atul B. Vachhani, M.D., and Robert Evans, M.D., of Santa Maria Gastroenterology to provide potentially life-saving colorectal cancer screenings to those that are unable to afford them.  These free screenings will take place on March 26 and can be referred by a primary care physician, or can be arranged through Mission Hope Cancer Center.  Screenings are crucial because when found early, colorectal cancer is highly treatable.

“Why take a chance, this cancer is preventable, detectable at early stages, and potentially curable” says Dr. Benipal, Gastroenterologist. “We are working to lower the number of stage three and four colorectal cancers in our community by combining our resources to catch this disease at a treatable stage.”

Both men and women are equally at risk for colon cancer and the risk of developing colorectal cancer increases with age. Screening tests for colorectal cancer should begin soon after turning 50 and continue at regular intervals or at the recommendation of a physician. Although colorectal cancer is most common among people age 50 and older, it can also occur in teenagers. More than 75 percent of colon and rectal cancers occur in individuals with no known risk factors, which is why regular screenings are so important.

March serves as a gentle reminder of an annual screening colonoscopy, but colon health is of great importance to us all year long.  Understanding the disease is essential for anyone who has been diagnosed with colorectal cancer and for those who are trying to prevent it. With early detection and regular screenings, colorectal cancer is preventable, treatable, and beatable. For more information, please call Mission Hope Cancer Center Nurse Navigator Carol Herrin RN, OCN at 805.346.3463.

Dignity Health Central Coast

Dignity Health Central Coast is comprised of five hospitals, all recognized for their quality of care, safety and service, primary care offices, premier ambulatory surgery centers, technologically advanced imaging centers, outpatient services and comprehensive home health services. Hospitals in the Dignity Health Central Coast region include Arroyo Grande Community Hospital in Arroyo Grande, French Hospital Medical Center in San Luis Obispo, Marian Regional Medical Center in Santa Maria, St. John’s Pleasant Valley Hospital in Camarillo and St. John’s Regional Medical Center in Oxnard. Each hospital is supported by an active philanthropic Foundation to provide additional funding to support new programs and services, as well as to advance the community’s access to health care. 

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