March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month
Time to get your REAR in GEAR! Who gets colon cancer?
- Colorectal cancer (cancer of the colon or rectum) affects both men and women, as well as people in all racial and ethnic groups.
- It is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the US
- Nearly 137,000 Americans are diagnosed with colon cancer each year and over 50,000 die from the disease
- 1 in 23 men and women will develop colorectal cancer in their lifetime
- Symptoms may include:
- Blood in your stools, change in bowel habits or stool size, unexplained abdominal pain, anemia, weight loss
- However, colon cancers don’t always cause symptoms, especially at first. Therefore, it is important to follow recommended guidelines to prevent colon cancer
- Colorectal cancer is a highly preventable and treatable disease if detected early
- Screening colonoscopy can help detect precancerous polyps (abnormal growths) as well as early cancers in the colon. It is the only screening test that can detect and prevent colon cancer during the same exam.
- People who are diagnosed with cancers at early stages have over 90% chance of cure and survival
- For most people, screening should begin at age 50. African Americans should talk to their doctor about beginning screening at age 45.
- Patients with a family history of colon cancer may be at higher risk and may require earlier screening colonoscopy. This should be discussed with your doctor.
- Anyone, regardless of age, with the gastrointestinal symptoms mentioned above should discuss this with their doctor to determine if colonoscopy is indicated at an earlier age.