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Why am I wearing blue today.

As a nurse in the field of gastroenterolgy I had seen colon cancer cross my path for about 20 years.  I had decided to get screened for my 45th birthday and I am sure glad I did.  My doctor found a tubular adenoma, a highly pre-cancerous type polyp.  Had I waited until I was 50, they are not sure what the outcome would have been.  This simple procedure saved my life and since then I have become an even stronger advocate for Colon Cancer Awareness.

This is why March 3rd is a big day in the world of Colon cancer survivors, nurses and families of colon cancer patients.  The idea for ‘Dress in Blue Day’ was originally come up with by my friend, Anita Mitchell, a stage IV colon cancer survivor who had lost a close friend and her own father to the disease. Greatly saddened by the fact that both of those tragedies could have been prevented, Anita saw a need to bring greater awareness to a cancer not many people wanted to discuss. So, in 2006, she worked with her children’s school to coordinate a recognition day. That very year in March, students who normally had to wear uniforms to class were allowed to wear a blue outfit of their choice, if only they made a $1 donation to colon cancer awareness.

I wish that we could get this campaign as big as the pink ribbon campaign and someday we just might.  There have been some hopes to turn all of March, and not just the first Friday of the month, blue by promoting colon cancer awareness all month long, much like National Breast Cancer Awareness Month takes place every October.

History of Blue Dress Day

Anita brought the ‘Dress in Blue Day’ concept to the Colon Cancer Alliance. ‘Dress in Blue Day’ was first launched in 2009 by the Colon Cancer Alliance in a massive nationwide campaign. It was introduced to raise awareness of colon cancer as well as to recognize the bravery of those suffering from the disease, and the now nationally-recognized blue star was chosen to symbolize both the memory of loved ones lost to colon cancer and the perspective of a better future without the disease.

With this actions, the Colon Cancer Alliance hopes to encourage people to become more interested in the potentially fatal threat that is colon cancer, by for example getting screened regularly in hopes of being able to detect any warning signs before the situation becomes much more serious. Diagnosis of cases of colorectal cancer through screening tends to occur 2-3 years before diagnosis of cases with symptoms, and thus screening has the potential to reduce colon cancer deaths by 60%. It has been found, in fact, that most colorectal cancers should be preventable altogether, through increased surveillance and lifestyle changes, such as simple diet changes or an increase in the amount of physical activity an individual does, which makes prevention a truly important aspect.

So, this is why I wear Blue on March 3rd every year and Celebrate with my fellow GI nurses all month long to get the word out to GET SCREENED.