March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, an opportunity to share the dangers of the third most common type of cancer in men and women, resulting in nearly 50,000 deaths per year. It is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States. But this disease is highly preventable, by getting screened beginning at age 50.
Colorectal cancer usually starts from polyps (abnormal growths) in the colon or rectum. Screening tests help prevent colorectal cancer by finding these polyps so they can be removed. Screening also finds cancer early when treatment can be most effective.
What Can You Do?
- If you are age 50 to 75, get screened for colorectal cancer regularly. If you’re between 76 and 85, ask your doctor if you should be screened.
- Be physically active.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Don’t drink too much alcohol
- Don’t smoke.
- Risk increases with age. More than 90% of colorectal cancers occur in people aged 50 years and older.
- Precancerous polyps don’t always cause symptoms. You could have polyps or colorectal cancer and not know it. If you have symptoms, they may include-
-Blood in the urine
-Stomach pain, aches, or cramps that don’t go away.
-Losing weight and you don’t know why.
If you have these symptoms, see your doctor. Screenings Save Lives!
Dr. Thomas Sullivan, General and Colorectal Surgeon, is now serving patients full time at the Mena Surgical Clinic and Mena Regional Health System. For more information regarding Colorectal Cancer Screenings, contact the Mena Surgical Clinic at 479-243-2103.