Harry S. Truman Memorial Veterans’ Hospital
March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month
Colon cancer is preventable, treatable and beatable.
Did you know that colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States? In fact, one out of 23 people will be diagnosed with colon cancer this year. Thankfully, with early detection and ongoing research, there are more than a million colon cancer survivors in the U.S. today. No one knows the exact cause of colon cancer, but, if you are over 50, have a family history of colon cancer, smoke cigarettes and have a questionable diet and lifestyle, you may be at risk.
So what can you do? Get screened. Screening saves lives. It’s as simple as that. Talk to your doctor, especially if you are over 50 years old, have a change in your bowel habits, have abdominal discomfort or pain, rectal bleeding or weakness and fatigue for an unknown reason. Cancer doesn’t care about your age. 10 percent of all new colon cancer diagnoses are under the age of 50 and these younger people are often misdiagnosed. Colon cancer is the most preventable, and, if found early, the most treatable of all cancers. Screening can be as easy as a home screening kit that is available from your doctor. These screening kits look for microscopic blood in your stool. Colonoscopies are another screening tool. A colonoscopy looks directly at your colon.
What actions can we all take? Take care of ourselves. We all know what we should be doing. Put down that Twinkie and get up and walk. Eating fresh fruits and vegetable as well as increasing your fiber go a long way to colon health. Exercise more. Walking is free and does your body good. Avoid smoking and excessive alcohol. Talk to your health professional about your family health history as well as any changes to your overall health. Wear blue on March 4 to educate everyone you know and love about Colon Cancer.
Together we can Spank Colon Cancer.
For more information on Colon Cancer, visit http://www.cancer.gov/types/colorectal
References: Colon Cancer Alliance, American Cancer Association