March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month
Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in the US.
March has become a rallying point for the colon cancer community where thousands of patients, survivors, caregivers and advocates throughout the country join together to spread colon cancer awareness by wearing blue, holding fundraising and education events, talking to friends and family about screening and so much more.
Why? Because colon cancer is often preventable and it is 90% curable if it is detected in its early stages.
Dr. Neil Price, gastroenterologist with Nashville Medical Group at Baptist Hospital, has five tips and facts for early detection and treatment.
5 Tips for Early Detection and Treatment of Colon Cancer
Typical symptoms include a change in bowel habits, rectal bleeding and abdominal pain.
Risk factors for developing colon cancer include age over 50, a family history of colon cancer and a history of ulcerative colitis. Other factors which appear to increase risk are smoking, obesity and diabetes.
Almost all colon cancers develop from colon polyps. Tests such as colonoscopy that allow for the detection and removal of polyps can reduce the risk of developing colon cancer by almost 60 percent.
Lifestyle factors, like having a high fiber, low fat diet, may reduce the risk of colon cancer. Use of aspirin and non-steroidal medications such as ibuprofen also appear to reduce risk of polyp and colon cancer development.
Current recommendations are to begin screening for colon cancer at age 50 by colonoscopy, flexible sigmoidoscopy and/or testing stool for blood annually.
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