No More Excuses! Screening For Colorectal Cancer Saves Lives.
March is the National Colorectal Cancer awareness Month. According to the American Cancer Society, colorectal cancer is the third most diagnosed cancer in men and women in the United States, excluding skin cancers. When numbers for both men and women are combined, colorectal accounts for the second most cancer deaths. Early detection can prevent the disease from spreading or worsening before symptoms are detected. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that regular screening should begin at age 50, your risk for colorectal cancer increases with age. It is suggested that screening should begin earlier if you have been diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease, Chron’s disease, or ulcerative colitis, or if you have a close relative who had polyps. Another risk factor is if you have a genetic syndrome such as familial adenomatous
polyposis (FAP) or hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer.
Most colorectal cancers begin as a “polyp”, growth tissue along the inner surface of the colon. With regular screenings, physicians may be able to locate abnormal polyps and remove them before they turn cancerous, making colorectal screening a method of cancer prevention. According to the American Cancer Society, the five-year survival rate is approximately 90% if found at an early stage. Yet, only 4 out of 10 colorectal cancers are detected at an early stage. By bringing awareness to this issue, it is hopeful that individuals will seek the screenings needed to combat this preventable disease. As always it is important to talk to your health care professional to discuss when you need to start testing for colorectal cancer. If you think you are higher risk talk to them now. If you are 50 or older make the time to talk to your healthcare provider, this screening could save your life.