According to the Colon Cancer Coalition, colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the U.S. and the third leading cause of cancer deaths in young adults, with one in every seven people diagnosed being under the age of 50.
Despite those numbers, colon cancer is generally thought of a disease that impacts older people.
That’s a perception that Kari Hagenow, who was diagnosed with colon cancer at 28, hopes to change.
“I had symptoms that went on for a while,” she said, “and they got worse. Clearly something was wrong, I could just tell that, it probably took me four months or so until I finally went in for it.”
At Aurora BayCare Medical Center, Hagenow was given a colonoscopy, through which doctors found a tumor.
She underwent surgery and chemotherapy and is now four years cancer-free.
“I would have never thought colon cancer was even an option when I first went in for my symptoms,” Hagenow said. “That’s also an issue with younger people, is that often they don’t go to those tests because they don’t think that colon cancer’s a possibility.”
To raise awareness of the disease, Hagenow participates yearly in Aurora BayCare’s Get your Rear in Gear 5K run and 1.5 mile walk.
“This is a way for myself to celebrate that [her recovery], and to help others at the same time,” Hagenow said. “I want people my age to know that if something’s not right with your body, go see a doctor. There’s nothing to be scared of.”
Hannan Van Hoof, an Event Director at Aurora BayCare says that raising awareness is an important aspect of the run.
“We need our community members to be aware of the signs and symptoms of colon cancer,” Van Hoof said, “and need to understand the importance of early detection and the importance of screenings.”
Funds raised through Get your Rear in Gear stay local.
“We’ve actually been able to invest those back into the community towards awareness campaigns and making sure that our community members are aware of the signs and symptoms so they know if they’re experiencing something like that to talk to their doctor,” Van Hoof explained.
The Fifth annual Get your Rear in Gear run and walk will take place on Saturday, August 3rd.
Participants can register online ahead of the event, or on the day of the race.
To learn more you can call Aurora BayCare at 866-938-0035 or email email@example.com.