Because it is preventable if we follow the recommendations of screening and preventing it. March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, and it is the third most common cancer diagnosed in American men and women.
So, when should we be screened?
Everyone (men and women) older than age 50 should be screened for colon cancer. However, if you have a close relative such as a parent or sibling with a history of colorectal cancer or adenoma polyps, it is usually recommended that you start screening earlier, depending on the age that your relative was diagnosed.
Why is screening so important?
Colorectal cancers start as a precancerous growths called polyps or adenomas. If adenoma polyps are detected early and removed, this prevents colorectal cancer from forming. The procedure for removing polyps is a colonoscopy, which allows for both detecting and removing pre-cancerous polyps during the same procedure.
- A recent study showed that having a colonoscopy with removal of an adenoma polyp cuts the risk of dying from colon cancer in half.
- Additionally, using colonoscopy to screen average-risk people can reduce the overall risk of a late-stage colorectal cancer diagnosis by about 70 percent, according to a new study.
So, if you are in the recommended age group to get screened, don’t put it off. Call your doctor and make an appointment.
It could save your life.
- Colorectal cancer awareness month (columbian.com)
- How A Colonoscopy Can Save Your Life (penn-medicine-focus-on-cancer.blogspot.com)
- Colon cancer awareness first step toward prevention (mayoclinic.com)