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Release: Feb. 8, 2001

Free colorectal cancer risk assessments at Relay for Life Feb. 10

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Iowa will offer free colorectal cancer risk assessments Saturday, Feb. 10 at the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life.

The event, which lasts from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., will be held at the UI Recreation Building, across from Kinnick Stadium.

March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. As with almost all types of cancer, early detection is vital. The five-year survival rate for colorectal cancer is 90 percent if it is caught early. Keeping with its pledge of cancer prevention, the Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center, a part of University of Iowa Health Care, will offer colorectal cancer risk assessments to anyone who is interested.

Carolyn Beelner, a program assistant at the UI Cancer Information Service and member of the 2001 Relay for Life planning committee, will help administer the risk assessments.

"I would urge anyone interested in their health to determine what their risk of colorectal cancer is, whether they are 25 or 60," Beelner said. "It's a simple test that requires only a pencil and paper and a few minutes of time."

Colorectal cancer is most common in people over age 50, as well as who smoke, follow a high fat, low residue diet or have been diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease, Beelner added.

Individuals fitting these criteria are especially encouraged to undergo a colorectal cancer risk assessment. Results will be kept confidential.

Relay for Life is an annual event sponsored by the American Cancer Society to raise awareness and funds for cancer research, treatment and prevention. While the Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center does not benefit directly from the funds gathered at Relay for Life and other American Cancer Society events, it does receive research support by competing at the national level for research grants and awards sponsored by the American Cancer Society.

The Cancer Center has more than 100 staff members participating in this year's 12-hour Relay for Life. Nine teams will represent the Cancer Center, from nursing units to basic science labs to a generic team called, "Holden's Heroes."

Kate Henderson, a program associate in radiology, is captain of the radiation oncology team, "Photon Explosion," and also is a member of the planning committee for the event. Henderson finds personal and professional meaning in being able to participate and help plan the 2001 Relay for Life.

"Relay for Life is a wonderful opportunity to pay tribute to those who have battled with cancer," Henderson said. "It's also an opportunity to thank those who continue to search and provide new and improved cancer care, and to raise the community's awareness of cancer prevention, cancer care and cancer supporters."

Spectators and visitors are encouraged to come and root for the walkers and runners in their fight against cancer. For more information, call the Cancer Information Service at (319) 356-3000 or toll-free (800) 237-1225.

University of Iowa Health Care describes the partnership between the UI College of Medicine and the UI Hospitals and Clinics and the patient care, medical education and research programs and services they provide.