March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

By: Red Hot Mamas

Published: March 6, 2019

March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month.  And, I would like to stress the importance of colorectal cancer screenings.  Regular colon cancer screening is one of the most powerful weapons against colon cancer.

Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States affecting both men and women.  Colorectal cancer affects all racial and ethnic groups and is most common in people ages 50 and older.

The best way to prevent colorectal cancer is to get screened regularly starting at age 50. There are often no signs or symptoms of colorectal cancer – that’s why it’s so important to get screened.

Regular screenings can not only prevent colon cancer, it can find colon cancer early and helps to reduce colon cancer deaths.  Early screening allows colorectal polyps to be found and removed early to prevent colon cancer.

Are You at Risk?

The exact causes of colorectal cancer are not fully understood, however, personal, family and certain lifestyle factors may contribute to this condition.  These include:

Lifestyle factors:

  • Obesity
  • Not getting enough exercise
  • A high-fat, low fiber diet
  • Smoking

Personal and family factors:

  • People over the age 50 have the highest risk of colorectal cancer (and it increases with age)
  • You may also be at higher risk if you are African American, or have a family history of colorectal cancer

Do You Have Any of These Symptoms?

If you develop any of these symptoms, you need to see your doctor:

  • Bleeding from the rectum
  • Abdominal pain
  • A change in bowel habit

Remember, everyone can take these healthy steps to help prevent colorectal cancer:

  • Get screened starting at age 50
  • If you are at an increased risk of developing colon cancer, your doctor may recommend beginning screenings at an earlier age
  • If you are at average risk of developing colon cancer your doctor may recommend that you have a screening test every five to 10 years
  • The frequency of screening will depend on the type of test you have
  • Talk to your doctor about which screening approach and frequency are best for you, given your particular health issues
  • Encourage your family members and friends over age 50 to get screened
  • Quit smoking and stay away from secondhand smoke
  • Get plenty of physical activity and eat healthy

In closing,   Colon cancer is preventable, treatable and beatable.  I hope to encourage you to book your colonoscopy.  Get tested, and don’t become a statistic.  Not only do it for yourself, but for your family, too.

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