Nimkee Wellness Center Colorectal Cancer Screening effort

Karmanos Cancer Institute had the opportunity to provide education about colorectal cancer at the Nimkee Wellness Clinic Safety Day in Mount Pleasant. The event was Saturday, June 11 on the grounds of the Saginaw Chippewa Tribe.

Composed mainly of the Saginaw, Black River and Swan Creek Ojibwe bands, the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Mount Pleasant has more than 3,000 enrolled members. Many of the members live on the reservation — established through an 1855 treaty — while others live throughout Michigan and the United States.

The purpose of the Nimkee Wellness Clinic Safety Day event was to share valuable information on public health and personal wellness initiatives available to the members of the Saginaw Chippewa Tribe. Karmanos staff shared information on the differences between screening for colorectal cancer by using the FIT (fecal immunochemical test) or colonoscopy.

Compared with white persons, American Indian persons have higher colorectal cancer incidence rates among all ages and were more likely to have late-stage diagnoses which reinforces the importance of the colorectal cancer screening effort (source: CDC).

Nancy King, RN, BSN, regional director of Karmanos Cancer Institute McLaren Central Michigan, and Laura Love, community health education specialist at McLaren Bay Region, provided information to event attendees. Kris Johns from the Karmanos Office of Cancer Health Equity and Community Engagement provided pre-event support and assisted Nancy and Laura during the event

The day was productive as eight colorectal cancer screening FIT kids were distributed to Saginaw Chippewa Tribe members. More than 100 visitors stopped by the table to discuss their health and the importance of early screening.

"On behalf of Laura and myself, we were honored to be asked to host the colorectal screening table in conjunction with the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe. The Summer Safety Fair was the perfect opportunity to share information about the importance of yearly screenings and health maintenance. We enjoyed listening to the community members about their needs and their personal stories related to cancer within their own families. We are excited to continue our ongoing relationship with the Saginaw Chippewa Tribe," Nancy said.

In addition to making connections with the general public, Karmanos staff had the opportunity to speak with a Primary Care Physician who serves tribal members at the Nimkee Memorial Wellness Center. The colorectal cancer screening effort is the just start of an ongoing partnership between Karmanos Cancer Institute, McLaren Health and the Nimkee Memorial Wellness Center.