Sparks/Summit Raise Colorectal Cancer Awareness

FORT SMITH, AR (March 8, 2013) – Sparks Health System and Summit Medical Center are working to raise awareness about colorectal cancer, the second deadliest cancer affecting both men and women.

In honor of National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, physicians at Sparks and Summit are encouraging those 50 and older to receive a screening for the disease. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that if everybody aged 50 or older had regular screening tests, as many as 60 percent of deaths from colorectal cancer could be prevented.

“Colorectal screening makes it possible for us to find and remove polyps before they become cancerous. Over the past 20 years this has diminished the incidence of colon cancer,” said Joe S. Padilla, M.D., a general surgeon affiliated with Summit. “Screening also allows us to find cancer at the earliest stages, when it’s most treatable.”

Precancerous polyps, which are abnormal growths, can be present in the colon for years before cancer develops. Someone could have polyps or even be in the early stages of colorectal cancer and experience no symptoms. That’s why it is so important to receive regular screenings.

Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer for men and women and affects all racial and ethnic groups. People diagnosed with colorectal cancer don’t always experience symptoms, especially in the early stages. Symptoms may include unexplained weight loss and stomach pain or cramps that don’t go away.

To schedule a colorectal cancer screening, call (877) 709-DOCS(3627) or (479) 709-DOCS to be referred to a qualified Sparks or Summit physician.

Sparks Health System includes Sparks Regional Medical Center, Sparks Clinic (an employed multi-specialty physician group), Sparks PremierCare physician-hospital organization, Sparks Home Health and the fully hospital-integrated Marvin Altman Fitness Center.

Summit Medical Center is a fully accredited, 103-bed acute care hospital. The medical staff includes numerous specialties such as Anesthesiology, Cardiology, Emergency Medicine, Family and Internal Medicine, Bariatric and General Surgery, Orthopedic and Plastic Surgery, Pediatrics and Wound Care. For more information about Summit, visit