March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness month. To help end the rising number of colon cancer diagnoses, we must start with prevention. Here are 5 reasons to schedule a colonoscopy this month.
5. Colorectal cancer is the 2nd leading cause of cancer related deaths in the United States.
When caught in the initial stages, colon cancer can be treatable. Prevention starts with a scheduled colonoscopy that checks for abnormal growths in the colon; if any growths are detected, your physician will provide the best treatment plan for you. The survival rates of colon cancer have increased due to the nation’s approach on what preventative steps we should take to catch the growths early. There are over 50,000 survivors living in the US.
4. It is not an “old persons” cancer
Although being over 50 puts you at greater risk, colon cancer can affect ANY age population; 1 in 10 people are being diagnosed before age 50. Risk factors for developing an early colorectal cancer can include having a family history of colon cancer, genetic defects, and inflammations of the colon, i.e. Crohn’s Disease. More information on colon cancer under 50.
3. Women can get colon cancer too
Colon cancer is the third most common cancer among women. Many women will hear the word colonoscopy and assume only men should get one often. Women are almost 2 times more likely to develop of colon cancer than another cancer because they do not schedule regular colonoscopy like they do other routine examinations, like yearly mammograms.
2. Treatment is available
Early detection is the key to prevention. If cancerous growths are caught early, your chances to beat the cancer are extremely higher. Depending on the location, size and state of progression of the cancerous growths, your physician would be able to tell you the best treatment option available. Here is a list of treatment options by the stage of diagnosis.
1. There are alternative screening methods
Colonoscopies are the most popular and effective way to screen for cancerous cells in the colon, but there are other screening methods. One method is called Fecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT). FOBT involves obtaining a stool sample and have doctors test it for abnormal DNA and blood, which can be possible signs of colorectal cancer. There are some screening techniques where doctors take a series of x-rays, this is called a virtual colonoscopy. Regardless of which option you discuss with your physician, regular screenings are a start in stopping the spread of colorectal cancer.
For more information on colon cancer awareness click here.