March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month
The American Cancer Society reports that colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death among men and women combined. Annually, approximately 150,000 new cases of colorectal cancer are diagnosed in the United States and 56,000 people die from the disease.
Colon Cancer Awareness promotes screening, surveillance, and healthy lifestyles, and seeks to educate the citizens of Santa Barbara about appropriate colon cancer screening recommendations. Beginning at age 50 (or earlier if you have a family history), everyone should be screened for colorectal cancer. Colonoscopy is the most effective screening method for colon cancer screening.
The Society of Gastroenterology Nurses and Associates and the Endoscopy Department of Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital are dedicated to decreasing the number of cancer deaths in the city of Santa Barbara and throughout the country. It is imperative that access to colorectal cancer screening by colonoscopy be improved for Americans.
Colon cancer is a highly preventable disease and curable if found early. Colorectal cancer does not discriminate -- it affects both women and men. With regular screening, colorectal cancer can be found early, when treatment is most effective.
"Dress in Blue Day” is to be celebrated on the first Friday in March every year -- March 5 this year -- to promote awareness about colorectal cancer and to encourage individuals to be screened.
Know These Five Facts
- Colorectal cancer remains the third most common cancer in the United States, and after lung cancer, the most deadly.
- Colorectal cancer affects men and women in almost equal numbers.
- A simple colonoscopy can save your life. Colorectal cancer is almost always curable if detected early, but nearly half of Americans who should be tested do not schedule regular screenings. Screening tests can detect polyps before they become cancerous and can detect cancer in its early stages.
- A colonoscopy is recommended for both men and women starting at the age of 50, and every 10 years from then on. Those at high risk (family history, previous colorectal cancer, predisposing conditions like inflammatory bowel disease) should consult with a healthcare provider about whether they should schedule more frequent exams or begin screening at a younger age.
- Warning signs of colorectal cancer can include black stool, red blood in the stool, abdominal pain, and changes in bowel patterns.