Faith Technologies Supports Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

Colorectal (colon) cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer and the second leading cause of cancer death in men and women combined in the United States, according to the Colorectal Cancer Alliance. It is estimated that 145,000 people will be diagnosed with colon cancer and 51,000 will die from this disease during 2019. However, it is one of the most easily detectable forms of cancer and one of the most treatable when caught early. The five-year survival rate for colon cancer found early is 90 percent.

At Faith Technologies, we want employees to understand risk factors, symptoms, and screening options that can not only help prevent colon cancer, but save lives. Guidelines state that everyone should have their colon checked starting at the age of 50, but may need to get checked earlier if they are considered to be at a higher risk, including:

  • Those with a personal or family history of colon cancer or polyps
  • Those with a personal or family history of other types of cancer
  • Those who suffer from Crohn’s Disease, ulcerative colitis, or Inflammatory Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
  • People who have poor diet and exercise habits, type 2 diabetes, or smoke or drink heavily

Often times, symptoms do not appear in early stages of colon cancer. However, common symptoms include: change in bowel habits, rectal bleeding or blood in your stool, persistent abdominal discomfort, nausea or vomiting, unexplained weight loss, and/or chronic fatigue.

Given these statistics, as well as knowing colon cancer has impacted many of us in some way, we wanted to create awareness and celebrate the courage of those affected by the disease by recognizing Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month in March. Faith Technologies started participating in Dress in Blue Day in 2018 and encourages its employees to wear blue for colon cancer patients, survivors, their families, and their community. On March 1, Faith employees showed their support by “going blue!” It was a great opportunity for people to talk about the disease and spread awareness.

Bailey Tryan’s father, Rickey

Last year, Bailey Tryan, an employee at one of Faith’s Wisconsin offices, approached me on Dress in Blue Day to let me know her father had recently passed away from colon cancer and how much it meant to see our employees participate and support Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month to help raise awareness and participation in preventive screenings. Her father, Rickey, was diagnosed with Stage 1 colon cancer in 2013 at the age of 61. It was caught early through regular screenings, and surgery was done to remove the portion of diseased colon. In 2016, he came down with appendicitis and during the scans, doctors noticed lesions throughout his colon, lungs, liver, and adrenal gland. Within a matter of 24 hours, he was diagnosed and treated for his appendicitis, and also diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer. There were no additional symptoms.

Rickey began chemotherapy and radiation treatment. Bailey spent a lot of time with her father at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) in Chicago while he went through treatment, also getting to know many other patients with the same diagnosis. The resounding conclusion was that had they gotten screened regularly, their disease may have been caught earlier.

Unfortunately, in July of 2017, the treatment stopped working and doctors said there was nothing left they could do. Rickey lost his battle with colon cancer on September 22, 2017, at the age of 65. “My dad was a bright, hilarious, strong, talented, incredibly loving father and husband who passed away from a preventable disease. Since his passing, I have gotten screened, along with all of his siblings and close relatives. Getting screened is an important step, but even more important is prevention. The best thing you can do for yourself is to take care of your health, check with family, establish whether you have a family history of cancer, and get screened regularly,” said Bailey. “Dress in Blue Day is an important day for families that have been affected by colon cancer. By wearing blue, you are standing in solidarity with those families who are still mourning the loss of their loved ones while simultaneously creating awareness of the disease and the importance of prevention and detection. Although it is a small gesture, it means the world to those of us who have experienced the disease first hand.”