Did you know that colorectal cancer (CRC) is the second-leading cause of cancer death in the United States? But it doesn’t have to be. Most cases of colon cancer are preventable with routine screening. According to the American Cancer Society, colon screenings could prevent 60 percent of CRC deaths if people chose to get screened starting at age 45.
Education can help make prevention a reality, and that’s where you come in! March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. During this time, we can share with family and friends the importance of getting screened and adopting healthy lifestyle habits that decrease colon cancer risk.
Ways you can get involved
You can do your part to get involved and spread the word about colon cancer awareness. Even children can be advocates for this life-saving cause. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Donate money to a group that supports colorectal cancer awareness like Fight Colorectal Cancer, Colorectal Cancer Alliance or the Colorectal Cancer Coalition.
- Wear a blue ribbon or a blue shirt on March 3 — Dress in Blue Day.
- Talk with friends and family members about the importance of getting their first screening at age 45 (or earlier, depending on their family history). Also, make people aware that digestive symptoms should prompt investigation regardless of age.
- Join a fundraiser for a nonprofit or charitable group focused on colorectal cancer education and research.
- Host an educational seminar at your local church, office or nonprofit group.
- Ask past patients, survivors or past caregivers to share their stories with your group or organization.
- Reach out to a local media outlet to discuss the disease and its prevention on the air, in an article or editorial.
Young-onset colon cancer
When you speak to your family and friends, remind them they are never too young to develop colon cancer. Since the 1990s, colon cancer cases have increased in adults between 40 and 55. In 2020, about 12 percent of colon cancer cases occurred in adults under 50, and they were more likely to have advanced disease at their diagnosis (American Cancer Society®).
Everyone should know the warning signs of colon cancer. Make an appointment with your doctor right away if you have symptoms such as the following:
- Abdominal pain
- Blood in the stool
- Change in bowel habits
- Unexplained weight loss
Locate a gastroenterologist near you
Colon cancer is highly treatable when diagnosed early, and colonoscopy is the most effective test. Are you up-to-date with your colon cancer screening? Or have you ever had a colonoscopy? The first step is to call your doctor.
If you are looking for a fellowship-trained gastroenterologist, we can assist you. Our colon cancer screening centers are located across the country. Be a good example and schedule your screening today!