Ranking 20th in the nation for the number of at-risk individuals screened for colon cancer may not seem that bad to some. It’s well above the top 50 percent, and certainly beats the national average. However, for gastroenterologist and Stop Colon Cancer Now member, Dr. Shekhar Challa, 20th is not good enough – his goal is to make Kansas first in the nation for screening and eliminate the 1,440 cases of colon cancer that are diagnosed in the state each year.

Colon cancer is the second leading cause of deaths among Kansans. So to improve Kansas’ ranking and death rate, Dr. Challa launched a non-profit group of gastroenterologists who are working together to increase awareness of colon cancer screening. The Kansas Association of Gastroenterologists (KAGI) is joining forces with Stop Colon Cancer Now to make Stop Colon Cancer Now Kansas a force in the fight against colon cancer in the Sunflower State.

Watch Dr. Challa talk about the importance of colon cancer screenings.

Stop Colon Cancer Now Kansas and KAGI have not only taken their message to the media, but also to primary care physicians who have the power to increase colon cancer screening rates by talking to their patients about the importance of colonoscopies. In addition to doing its own statewide outreach, Stop Colon Cancer Now Kansas and KAGI worked closely with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment and Governor Sam Brownback in a proclamation declaring March 2011 Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month in Kansas.

Dr. Challa, Stop Colon Cancer Now Kansas and KAGI believe that by making March a month of importance is a good first step, but it won’t be enough until every Kansan who needs to be screened is and the fight against colon cancer becomes front and center not just in March, but all year long.

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