Are You Due For A Screening?
March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, a time when we emphasize the importance of early detection and screening. Colorectal cancer is highly treatable if caught in the early stages.
Colon cancer remains the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States for both men and women, yet it is very preventable. Unfortunately, many people with colorectal cancer may experience no symptoms, which is why regular screenings are so important. Finding cancer early, when it’s small and hasn’t spread, often allows for more treatment options. It has been shown that the average person is at risk of developing polyps beginning at 45 years of age; however, removing polyps during screening colonoscopies significantly reduces colon cancer development later in life. And, the only reliable way to detect polyps is through a screening colonoscopy.
Certain risk factors, such as a diet high in red and processed meats, obesity, smoking and lack of exercise can be attributed to certain cancers, although having risk factors does not necessarily mean that you will get the disease.
Symptoms of colorectal cancer may include:
- A persistent change in bowel habits, including diarrhea or constipation
- Rectal bleeding or blood in your stool
- Persistent abdominal discomfort, such as cramps, gas or pain
- A feeling that your bowel doesn’t empty completely
- Weakness or fatigue
- Unexplained weight loss
Please discuss colorectal cancer screening with your physician.