When it comes to colon cancer, the cause is personal for Barton County Commissioner Jennifer Schartz, who lost her son Dane to the disease, and Sheriff Brian Bellendir, who is himself a survivor. They spoke as the commission Monday morning approved a proclamation marking this as Colon Cancer Awareness Month.
During National Colon Cancer Awareness Month, county citizens are encouraged to learn their family’s health history, to be screened regularly for colorectal cancer and to see a health-care provider for change in bowel habits, bleeding, unintended weight loss or other symptoms. Schartz and Bellendir provided details.
“This is something no one ever wants to face,” Schartz said of the death of her son Dane three and a half years ago.
“He would have been 33. It just makes me sad that his cancer was detected too late.”
But, she said, Dane’s legacy serves as reminder that everyone needs to pay attention to their bodies and be tested.
“It is one of the most treatable cancers if it is caught early,” Bellendir said. “It is one of the most deadly if it is caught late.”
Bellendir was diagnosed five years ago when he was 52. He went through chemotherapy and a colon resection. Had he been tested just a few years earlier, he might have avoided that.
“I cannot stress enough how important it is to be screened,” he said. This is especially important for men and women who are at or near the age of 50, earlier if there is a history of colon cancer in the family.
“The death rate from colorectal cancer has been steadily declining for both men and women for several decades,” the proclamation reads. “One reason is because more people are getting screened which helps detect cancers early, when treatment may be more successful.”
Men and women 45 or older, or those with a family history of colorectal cancer or polyps, should talk to their health-care providers about their risk for colorectal cancer and screening, even if they are asymptomatic.
The proclamation notes the Affordable Care Act requires both private insurers and Medicare to cover the costs of colorectal cancer screening tests, because these tests are recommended by the United States Preventive Services Task Force. “Citizens are urged to review their health insurance plan for specific details and to contact the insurer with questions related to colorectal cancer screenings.”
“Therefore, be it proclaimed by the Board of County Commissioners of Barton County, Kansas, that Barton County joins in the observation of Colon Cancer Awareness Month, March, 2020,” the proclamation reads. “Further, that the Commission endorsed the message of the American Cancer Society, and encourages all citizens to learn their family’s health history, to be screened regularly for colorectal cancer and to see a health care provider for change in bowel habits, bleeding, unintended weight loss or other symptoms.”
It goes on to read “that the Commission urges all citizens to be mindful of their health by observing safety practices and to bring their health concerns to their own medical care provider or the Barton County Health Department.”
Barton County Commission meeting at a glance
Here is a quick look at what the Barton County Commission did Monday morning:
• Heard an update from Health Director Shelly Schneider on the novel coronavirus.
• Approved a proclamation denoting March as Colon Cancer Awareness Month.
During National Colon Cancer Awareness Month, county citizens are encouraged to learn their family’s health history, to be screened regularly for colorectal cancer and to see a health-care provider for change in bowel habits, bleeding, unintended weight loss or other symptoms. Sheriff Brian Bellendir, who is a survivor, provided details.
• Approved a proclamation marking this as Severe Weather Awareness Week.
Severe Weather Awareness Week is a cooperative effort of the National Weather Service and the Kansas Emergency Management Association. Barton County Emergency Management would like to remind everyone to be prepared for the spring severe weather season, Emergency Manager Amy Miller said.
The Proclamation encourages individuals, businesses and communities to plan and prepare for an emergency.
• Approved a proposal for phase IV construction quality assurance services for the phase IV cell construction of the Barton County Sanitary Landfill.
Barton County accepted proposals for construction (approximately 6.3 acres) until Feb. 28, County Administrator Phil Hathcock said. This project generally consists of earthwork and composite landfill liner installation for the cell.
SCS Engineers of Wichita submitted a proposal to provide CQA services during the construction period. Proposed work includes documentation and testing for compacted low permeability soil liner, geosynthetic components and leachate collection system, as well as survey and data review, CQA report preparation and engineering support/project management.
Total estimated cost of services is $160,000.