March is an important month to us here at Gastrointestinal Specialists! It’s National Colorectal Cancer Month and we take that very seriously. Colon cancer affects about 140,00 Americans each year and more than 50,000 die from it. While we do talk about colon cancer all year long, this month is our chance to shine. Your colon is important – the more we can teach you about colon cancer prevention the better.
Who Should Worry About Colon Cancer?
Men and women ages 50 or over should start screening for colon cancer and regularly go in for screening until the age of 75.
You may be at a higher risk if any of the following factors apply to you:
- You have a history of precancerous colon polyps or colon cancer in your family
- You have a history of Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis
- You are a smoker
- Your alcohol intake is excessive
- You have a sedentary lifestyle
- You are overweight or obese
- You have Type 2 diabetes
What you should know
Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death among cancers that affect men and women. As you age, your risk of getting colon cancer increases. This is why it’s important to get screened at age 50 or over. Colorectal cancer tests are designed to find precancerous polyps. Some polyps can turn into cancer over time, which is why it is important to screen for them. Early detection is key.
There are no symptoms for precancerous polyps, which is why it is so important to screen for them at a time in your life when they are likely to occur. For people who have developed polyps or colorectal cancer, the symptoms are:
- Blood in stool
- Stomach pains or cramps that won’t go away
- Unexpected weight loss
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, contact your doctor right away.
We’ll be covering colon health all March so stayed tuned for more posts and share this with a loved one who might be at risk.