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Dress in Blue Day to raise colon cancer awareness

Feb. 21, 2013, 9:13 AM

“Nashville Elvis” will be in the building at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and Vanderbilt Health One Hundred Oaks, Friday, March 1, to celebrate colon cancer awareness.

“We have invited the entertainer known as Nashville Elvis to our Dress in Blue Day celebration because one of Elvis’ best-loved songs is “Blue Suede Shoes,” and blue is the color associated with colon cancer,” said Sheila Bates, MSSW, community outreach manager for Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center’s Office of Patient and Community Education.

“We’re encouraging everyone to wear something blue as a reminder that early screening may help detect or even prevent the disease.”

Bates said anyone old enough to remember Elvis is the right age to start thinking about colon cancer screening.

The Colon Cancer Alliance initiated Dress in Blue Day in 2009 to raise awareness about colorectal cancer which is the second leading cause of cancer-related death in the United States. Approximately 150,000 people are diagnosed with colorectal cancer every year and more than 51,000 die from the disease.

During the Dress in Blue Day event on March 1, Nashville Elvis will be in the Courtyard Café at lunchtime between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., and in the lobby at Vanderbilt Health One Hundred Oaks from 2-4 p.m. Visitors to the cafeteria and One Hundred Oaks may have their pictures taken with Nashville Elvis, and with two VUMC employees who are dressed as giant colon polyps.

Polyps are small growths on the lining of the intestinal tract that may turn into cancer.
There will also be games and prizes for visitors who stop by the colorectal cancer education tables.

Everyone is advised to start screening beginning at age 50, and individuals who have a family history of the disease or persistent symptoms may need to start screening even earlier.

Screening with a test like a colonoscopy is the best way to prevent colorectal cancer. During the test a physician uses a long, flexible tube with a camera on the end to search for polyps inside the colon and can remove the polyps to prevent cancer from developing.

Obesity, cigarette smoking, a poor diet and lack of exercise all contribute to colon cancer risk.

The Vanderbilt Hereditary Colorectal Cancer Registry provides genetic counseling and testing for those who may have a hereditary risk. Contact or call 322-1590 for registry information. For more details about Dress in Blue Day, contact or call 948-4130.

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