The month of March is best known as the month we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. This religious feast named for the patron saint of Ireland has grown into an international celebration of Irish food, music and heritage. Whether you come from Irish roots or you just consider yourself Irish at heart, March 17 is the perfect opportunity to dress in kelly green, drink a pint of green beer and declare, “Kiss me, I’m Irish!”
We love a good St. Patrick’s Day celebration here at the Butt Seriously blog, but the month of March holds a much more important meaning to us because it’s Colon Cancer Awareness Month.
Colon cancer is currently the third-leading cause of cancer death among men and women in the United States. The American Cancer Society estimates that more than 135,000 Americans will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer in 2017, and over 50,000 patients will die from this disease.
Despite these startling statistics, the death rate from colorectal cancer has been steadily declining over the last several decades. In fact, researchers have noted a 30 percent decline in colon cancer over the last 10 years in individuals over the age of 50. While there are several likely reasons for this decline, experts agree that one factor has made a significant difference – colon cancer screenings.
Colon cancer screening is the process of looking for cancer or signs of pre-cancer in individuals who presently have no symptoms. While there are several different types of screening methods available, the colonoscopy is considered the gold standard of colon cancer screening. It is the only test that thoroughly examines the entire length of the colon for polyps, growths and lesions. Precancerous growths called polyps that are detected during a colonoscopy can be immediately removed and sent to the lab for biopsy, making the colonoscopy a diagnostic, therapeutic and preventive procedure all rolled into one.
Experts predict that nearly half of all colon cancer deaths in the United States could be prevented if every eligible individual was screened for colon cancer. Unfortunately, current screening rates are in dire need of improvement. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one third of adults aged 50 to 75 are not current with colon cancer screenings.
“There are more than 20 million adults in this country who haven’t had any recommended screening for colorectal cancer and who may therefore get cancer and die from a preventable tragedy,” says CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. “Screening for colorectal cancer is effective and can save your life.”
During the month of March, we’d like to challenge every eligible individual to take charge of their digestive health by scheduling a colonoscopy. A simple referral from your primary care physician is all that is needed to begin the process, and you can use our Find a Center tool to locate available facilities in your area. Once you’ve schedule a date for your exam, you can check our website for questions to ask your gastroenterologist and advice on how to prepare for your exam.
We have all the tools you need to make your colonoscopy a success, so what are you waiting for? Pick up the phone and schedule your appointment today! Start the month of March with peace of mind knowing you’ve taken one important step towards a healthier future. Now that’s something worth celebrating!