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Taking Charge of Your Health: The Importance of Colon Cancer Screening

March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month, a dedicated time to shed light on the significance of early detection and prevention of colon cancer. At Center for Digestive Health, we are committed to raising awareness and encouraging individuals to prioritize their health through regular screening colonoscopies.

Understanding Colon Cancer

Colon cancer is a type of cancer that originates in the colon or rectum. It is the third most common cancer diagnosed in both men and women, but the good news is that it is highly preventable and treatable when detected early.  Most colon cancers start as small polyps, or growths, which are silent until they have grown out of control. However, with early detection, they can be removed before they ever get the chance.

Colon Cancer Rates

Let’s take a moment to consider some sobering statistics. According to the American Cancer Society, approximately 150,000 new cases of colorectal cancer are diagnosed each year, and over 50,000 people lose their lives to this disease annually. The risk of developing colorectal cancer increases with age, making regular screenings even more crucial.  An average risk person has about a 4% lifetime risk of developing colon cancer without screening, and this risk is 33% higher in men than in woman.

The Importance of Screening Colonoscopies

A screening colonoscopy is a simple yet powerful procedure that can detect and prevent colorectal cancer. During the procedure, a gastroenterologist examines the colon for any abnormalities, such as polyps or tumors, and if detected, they can be removed before they have the chance to develop into cancer.

Key Benefits of Colonoscopies

1.) Early Detection Saves Lives: Detecting and removing polyps early significantly reduces the risk of developing colorectal cancer. Regular screenings can be a lifesaving preventive measure.

2.) Screening Guidelines: It is recommended that individuals begin regular colonoscopies at the age of 45, or earlier if there is a family history of colorectal cancer or other risk factors, such as certain genetic cancer syndromes. Following these guidelines ensures timely detection and intervention.

3.) Minimally Invasive Procedure: A colonoscopy is a relatively simple outpatient procedure. Patients are sedated during the process, and discomfort is almost non-existent.  The procedure is safe and over in about 30 minutes. The peace of mind gained from knowing you are taking control of your health is invaluable.

4.) Preventing Colon Cancer: By identifying and removing polyps, colonoscopies play a pivotal role in preventing the development of colorectal cancer. This proactive approach can save lives and improve overall well-being.

Colon Cancer Awareness Month

March serves as a reminder for individuals to prioritize their health and take action by scheduling a screening colonoscopy. By doing so, you are not only investing in your own well-being but also contributing to the collective effort to reduce the impact of colorectal cancer on our communities.

Colon cancer is a serious but preventable disease. Through awareness, education, and proactive measures such as screening colonoscopies, we can make significant strides in reducing its prevalence and saving lives. Take charge of your health this Colon Cancer Awareness Month – schedule your screening and encourage your loved ones to do the same. It’s a small step that can make a big difference in the fight against colorectal cancer.