#Screenbrave – Colon Cancer Awareness Month
The Philippine Society of Gastroenterology declared colorectal cancer to be the number one gastrointestinal cancer in the Philippines, and March is National Colon Cancer Awareness month. Be informed and get the facts below!
Colorectal cancer is a type of cancer that forms in the colon or rectal area often from a very small polyp or growth along the lining of the intestines. These polyps are often slow growing, and when found early colon cancer is treatable. However, early screening is extremely important. Yearly colonoscopy screening should begin at age 50 or sooner if you have risk factors.
Who’s at Risk?
- Age – Colon cancer affects both men and women usually after the age of 50, but the incidence in younger people is increasing.
- Family History – If anyone in your close family has a history of colon cancer and/or polyps or you have a history of inflammatory bowel disease, you should take to your doctor about being screened earlier than age 50.
- Weight – Being overweight increases your risk of developing colon cancer and it seems to be more significant in men. Increasing your physical activity could lessen your risk of developing colon cancer. Some studies show that daily physical activity can cut your risk as much as 50 percent.
- Diet – A diet low in fruits and vegetables (fiber) along with alcohol consumption and high amounts of red meat can increase your risk. Cigarette smoking also shows an increased risk.
Be proactive and talk to your doctor if you see any of these early warning signs:
A change in bowel habits – a change in the consistency or frequency of your stools
Blood in your stool either bright red or especially if it makes the stool look dark
Weakness or fatigue as well as unexplained weight loss
Persistent belly pain – feeling full or bloated as well as gas and cramping that doesn’t seem to be relieved with a bowel movement
If diagnosed early, colon cancer is a treatable disease. It’s always best to work hard on preventions. Remember, these symptoms often are not accompanied by pain, which is why colon cancer is deemed the “silent killer”. Screening is the #1 way to prevent colon cancer so #screenbrave.
For more information, you can visit www.ccalliance.org, www.cancer.org, www.canderresearchuk.org
Author: Melissa Doyle, FNP-BC, MSN, RN
Top photo – http:/ /www.shieldhealthcare.com/community/ostomylife/2014/02/12/
Second photo – http:/ /coliseumwomen.com/march-is-colorectal-cancer-awareness-month/