IU Health Simon Cancer Center

Ringing the Bell – End to Treatment

Patient Story

Diagnosed Aug. 12, 2018 with Stage 2 colon cancer Mark Sipkema recently rang the bell at Simon Cancer Center. Ringing the bell symbolizes the end to treatment.

Sipkema, 41, a patient of oncologist Dr. Safi Shahda was diagnosed during a scan for colonic diverticulitis – a gastrointestinal disease that causes inflammation in the large intestine. Sipkema, a Greenwood resident is married to Angela Sipkema and has two children, Tyler, 11 and Ava, 2.

The American Cancer Society estimates there will be 101,420 new case of colon cancer reported in 2019. It’s estimated one in 22 men will be diagnosed with colon cancer. There are more than one million survivors in the United States as a result of early detection and treatment. The American Cancer Society recommends people at average risk begin screenings at age 45. People at average risk include: Those with no personal or family history colorectal cancer or polyps; no history of inflammatory bowel disease such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis. There are two types of recommended screenings – A stool based test and structural exam such as a colonoscopy.

Sipkema, a Cubs fan, has had two surgeries and has one more to go but says he feels great.

-- By T.J. Banes, Journalist, IU Health.
Reach Banes via email tfender1@iuhealth.org.

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