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Dr. Brian Meeker, a family physician with Virginia Gay Hospital in Vinton, has been placing colon cancer screening and treatment at the forefront of his practice in the nearly three decades he has been with the hospital. His prevention efforts to thousands of rural Iowans has paid off. Right now, CDC data shows that Benton County has the lowest rate of colon cancer in people over 50, statewide.

“We emphasize convenience and being in a hometown, and getting it done locally,” said Dr. Meeker.

The chief cancer control officer for the American Cancer Society, Dr. Richard Wender, congratulated Meeker on his success at the American Association for Primary Care Endoscope conference in Atlanta at the beginning of November.

“We’ve made this a priority for 25 years,” said Dr. Meeker. “I think our data shows that there might be a better way than herding people into metro medical districts because a lot of rural people don’t mind coming to a small hospital.”

Meeker is one of only five percent of family practitioners nationwide that provide endoscopy services. He says that no matter where you get your screening, it’s an essential step in potentially saving your life.