March is colorectal cancer awareness month
March is colorectal cancer awareness month, so I thought this would be a good time to educate the public about colorectal cancer and the importance of early detection and screening.
There were more than 130,000 people diagnosed with colorectal cancer in the U.S. In 2018 according to the American Cancer Society and Center for Disease Control (CDC). Early reports for 2019 show similar numbers.
In 2020, one in 24 women and 1 in 22 men will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer in the USA. Early screening is vital and helps to improve outcomes by detecting the cancer.
In the next few paragraphs, I will explain some details that may shed light on the value of screening and hopefully give you the information you need to take charge of your health care and ask for your colonoscopy at your next office visit.
A colonoscopy can easily identify any pre-cancerous growths. These growths, called polyps, are removed and sent for testing to determine if the growth is cancerous. A colonoscopy is the one way to determine if there are pre-cancerous growths, and although other forms of colorectal screenings are available, a colonoscopy is by far the best evidencebased screening tool to determine true risk.
Although a colonoscopy sounds scary, the most unpleasant part of the procedure is the preparation the day before the procedure. The day of the procedure, you will be given medication to help you feel sleepy. You will not recall the colonoscopy, not should you experience pain. It usually takes less than 2 hours to finish and although you may feel a bit groggy afterwards, there is no reason why you cnnot return to work the very next day.
Some of the symptoms of colorectal cancer include diarrhea, constipation (or any sudden change in stool habit), fatigue, unexplained weight loss, abdominal pain, rectal bleeding (either bight red or dark), tarrry appearance to stools, and bloating. This list isn’t all inclusive, and keep in mind many symptoms do not show up at all until late in the disease process. If you notice any of these symptoms, make an appointment to be seen for a more in-depth evaluation.
We here at Fall County Rural Health Clinic want ot keep you healthy, informed, and empowered regarding your health and screenings. If you are over the age of 50 and have not been screened, ask for a colonoscopy referral at your next appointment or make an appointement for a referral. If you have been screened already, make sure you follow up as the GI specialist recommended to maintain a healthy colo for many years to come!
All statistics were obtained from CDC. gov and Cancer.org