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Sanford Bemidji participates in colorectal cancer screening collaborative

BEMIDJI – Sanford Bemidji recently participated in a statewide collaborative designed to help participating medical groups enhance their current colorectal cancer screening efforts. The collaborative was led by a consortium composed of the Institute for Clinical Systems Improvement, the American Cancer Society and the Minnesota Department of Health.

Colorectal cancer is the number two cancer killer in the United States, second only to lung cancer.

“Colorectal cancer is 90 percent treatable and even preventable when polyps are found early and removed,” said Mark Claussen, M.D., Sanford Bemidji chief of medical staff. “The best way to prevent colorectal cancer is to get screened. There are often no signs or symptoms of colorectal cancer. If left undiagnosed or undetected, colorectal cancer can spread throughout the body,”

Over the course of the 13-month ICSI collaborative, Sanford Bemidji conducted more than 20,960 CRC screenings. In addition, Sanford Bemidji showed significant increases in the number of eligible patients who received screenings.

“This collaborative has generated awareness within both Sanford Bemidji and our community on the importance of getting CRC screenings,” Claussen said. “Patients over age 50 are at highest risk for colorectal cancer. Other risk factors include smoking, having a family history of colorectal cancer and being American Indian or African American.”

As part of the learning collaborative, Sanford Bemidji participated in statewide webinars, conference calls and consulting telephone meetings. Sanford also took steps to further improve screening rates in the Bemidji area. These included professional education opportunities, public seminars on the importance of CRC screenings and outreach with the Mino Bimaadiziiwin (Good Life) Bemidji Area Sage Scopes Screening Collaborative.