Colon Cancer Survivor Hopes Lighting Enger Tower Blue Encourages Early Screenings

Anna Dahlgren was screened earlier than the recommended age, catching the disease in her early 30s.

DULUTH, Minn.-Enger Tower in Duluth was lit up blue Tuesday in honor of Colon Cancer Awareness Month. It’s an initiative led by the city, and Colorectal Cancer survivor Anna Dahlgren.

Dahlgren was screened earlier than the recommended age, catching the disease in her early 30s.

Doctors say if she had waited until the typical screening age of 45 — it would have been too late.

Dahlgren says more cases of Colorectal Cancer have been manifesting in young people without any symptoms. “Most people think that it’s an old man’s disease and over 50 people get it,” she said.

“But so many people diagnosed at later stages that have gone to their providers, and have been sort of ignored because of their age. Don’t take your provider telling you that age is not, you shouldn’t worry about it,” said Dahlgren.

Putting screening on the radar for young people is why she and the city wanted to do something big to call attention to it – making Enger Tower the beacon.

“It’s very exciting to be able to literally and physically shine a light on the work that she’s done and also just is an effort to help people prevent this disease from happening to a loved one, “ City Public Information Officer Kate Van Daele said.

Since the pandemic started last March, screenings dropped 35% — meaning about 19,000 people have gone undiagnosed.

That’s why Dahlgren says there has been a national push to make colon cancer screenings part of your yearly physical.

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