March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month and it is more important than ever to take preventative steps against this disease.
Colorectal Cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States; a tragically high number for a cancer that is preventable. Despite the fact that colorectal cancer is preventable with regular screenings, contraction rates have been climbing over the years. The American Cancer Society analyzed cancer rates over the last several decades and found that colorectal cancer rates have been increasing steadily for every generation born after 1950. That is why it is critical to increase awareness of colorectal Cancer, its risk factors, and how you can take steps to prevent this deadly disease. Thirty percent of all rectal cancers are now diagnosed in people under age 55, and the likelihood of developing this disease only increases as you age.
Symptoms may include:
- Stomach aches, pains, or cramps that do not go away.
- Sudden weight loss without diet or exercise.
- Bloody stools (bowel movements).
If you have any of the above symptoms, regardless of age, you should ask your doctor about a screening for Colorectal Cancer. There are a variety of different ways to screen for Colorectal Cancer. One of the most commonly known tests is a colonoscopy, but a simple stool test, performed in your own home, is also available as a way to screen for Colorectal Cancer.
Body weight, physical activity, and proper diet can lower your risk for developing Colorectal Cancer, but the easiest way to prevent Colorectal Cancer is to have regular screenings. According to the CDC people between the ages of 50 to 75 should have regular screenings for Colorectal Cancer, even if they have no symptoms. Regular screenings allow providers to identify potential cancer-causing cells and remove them before the disease ever develops.
Screening can save lives. Talk to your doctor today if you are over age 50, if you have a family history, or if you are showing signs & symptoms. For more information on Colorectal Cancer and how you can help spread awareness, please visit www.ccalliance.org/