You might feel uncomfortable talking about colon cancer, but organizers of the Get Your Rear In Gear 5K Run/Walk want you to start a discussion – and get screened for the disease.
The event, set for Feb. 25 at Camp Mabry, will begin at 8 a.m. with a celebration of survivors, support for caregivers and a remembrance of those who have died from the disease. A kids’ fun run will take place next, followed by the 5K at 8:30 a.m.
Jennifer Welker of Austin was diagnosed with Stage 4 rectal cancer when she was 39.
“I tell everyone that will listen how important it is to get screened if you have any concerns,” Welker said. “If I had put off screening, even though it wasn’t recommended, I would be in a different situation right now. Cancer has taken many things from me over the past two and a half years, but it has given me many things as well – hope, courage, strength and a passion for sharing my story.”
The Journal of the American Medical Association estimates a 90 percent increase in colon cancer and a 124 percent increase in rectal cancer diagnoses in young people by 2030. One in 20 Americans will be diagnosed with colon cancer during his or her lifetime.
Colon cancer screening through a colonoscopy can detect and remove colon polyps before they become cancer.
Nine out of 10 patients will survive five or more years when colon cancer is caught in early stages, but only one in 10 live that long when the disease is diagnosed in late stages. Right now, six out of 10 patients nationwide are diagnosed with late stage disease because they put off getting screened.
To register go here. Entry fee is $25 for adults, $15 for ages 12 and under or $15 for the Kids’ Fun Run. Race day registration is $35 for adults, $20 for youth and $20 for the Kids Fun Run.
Presenting sponsors of the Feb. 25 race are Austin Gastroenterology and Texas Oncology, with support from Austin Cancer Centers and ARA Diagnostic Imaging. A portion of proceeds will benefit the CareBox Program, a local nonprofit that provides essential care supplies to cancer patients at no cost. Some proceeds will also go toward a FIT program grant to help fund and screen low-income Central Texans at high risk for colon cancer.
Camp Mabry is located at 2210 West 35th Street.