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Wednesday, March 27 is Gastrointestinal Nurses and Associates Day. It's the perfect time to showcase what their work is all about — saving lives!

There are 29 nurses, two CMTs and two clerks on KDMC's endoscopy team. There are six certified GI nurses on the team (photo) — Deena Stewart, Amber McComas, Linda Adams, Nikki Osborne, Tammy Nolan and Shelly Sorrell (not pictured).

"We see cancers of the colon, stomach and esophagus almost daily," said Sandy Hicks, endoscopy nurse manager. "As GI nurses, our mission is to inform our community about measures they can adopt in their daily lives to prevent these diseases. Actions such as changes in diet, smoking cessation and getting a screening colonoscopy can help reduce the number of GI cancers diagnosed each year."

Colon cancer is the second-leading cancer killer in the U.S., and Kentucky has the nation's third-highest death rate for colorectal cancer, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Colon cancer is the No. 2 leading cause of cancer deaths in Kentucky," said Sandy. "That's second only to lung cancer."

KDMC performs upwards of around 17,000 procedures annually. In addition, the team provides a number of support groups for individuals with Crohn's, colitis and those with celiac disease. "We believe in educating and providing emotional support to our customers and their families," Sandy said.

Who needs to schedule a screening colonoscopy?

Individuals with a family history of the disease should be screened when they are 40. Everyone should be screened every 10 years beginning at age 50.

KDMC makes it easy to schedule a screening colonoscopy. No physician referral is required. For more information, call (606) 408-1490.

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