Show Your Colors: UF&Shands goes red and blue to raise awareness of heart disease, colon cancer
Heart disease is the leading cause of death of both men and women – but it’s also highly preventable. In February, Shands at the University of Florida hosted a heart awareness fair in conjunction with the American Heart Association’s National Wear Red Day. The fair offered free health screenings along with tables that provided information on stroke, diabetes, heart health and cardiovascular medicine. UF&Shands employees showed their support for this annual event by wearing red.
This month, it’s all about a different color. UF&Shands nursing, clinical and administrative staff wore blue on March 1 to kick off National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. Wear Blue Day aims to raise awareness of how regular screenings for rectal or colon cancer can save lives.
Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths every year in the United States, according the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but if everyone 50 years old or older was screened regularly, as many as 60 percent of deaths could be avoided. Colonoscopy screenings are recommended for most people at age 50, and then every 10 years.
“Colorectal cancer and screening for it, for some individuals, represents something taboo or very private. The awareness campaigns and spirit associated with the events are intended to foster dialogue and get people talking about it — especially those who otherwise wouldn’t,” said Thomas J. George Jr., M.D., FACP, director of the Gastrointestinal Oncology Program in the College of Medicine. “If one person decides to get screened who otherwise wouldn’t have, it makes the whole month worthwhile.”