March has been officially designated Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month to give sorely needed attention to a growing and deadly form of cancer in the United States. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), colorectal cancer is the second deadliest type of cancer. More than 50,000 of the 140,000 Americans diagnosed with colorectal cancer each year die from the disease.
The good news is that colorectal cancer has a high rate of successful treatment if detected early. Approximately nine out of ten people who discover and treat colorectal cancer in its early stages are still alive five years later. Because of this, the American Cancer Society recommends getting regular colorectal screenings beginning at age 50. If you are 50 years or older, don’t let March pass by without getting screened. Call your doctor today to schedule a colorectal screening. If you live in the Long Island or Queens area, call the gastroenterologists of GastroCare LI at (516) 265-7049 for a potentially life-saving colorectal screening. We are experienced in treating colon cancer and committed to providing the highest quality care for all gastrointestinal issues.
What Is Colorectal Cancer?
Educating yourself about the second deadliest form of cancer is the first step to preventing it from destroying your health. Colorectal cancer occurs in the colon or rectum. When the cancer is in the early stages, it can be treated much more easily and effectively. Once cancer has spread beyond the colon or rectum, however, survival rates dramatically drop. Colorectal cancer affects both men and women and is correlated with age, increasing dramatically in the population aged 50 and older. Besides age, other risk factors for colorectal cancer include a family history of the disease, other colon problems such as Crohn’s disease or ulcers, and Type-2 diabetes.
What Can I Do to Prevent Colorectal Cancer?
The risk of colorectal cancer increases dramatically as you age. Over 90% of colorectal cancers are found in patients aged 50 and older. If you fit that age group, getting screened for colon cancer often is your best chance of detecting cancer early. Earlier detection can help prevent it from progressing into the deadly stages. Advances in the study of colorectal cancer have led to numerous screening options you can choose from, including the following:
- Colonoscopy (recommended every ten years, beginning at age 50)
- Virtual Colonoscopy (recommended every five years)
- Stool DNA test (recommended every one or three years)
- Sigmoidoscopy (recommended every five years)
Ask your doctor which screening is right for you. In addition to these screenings, you can reduce your risk of colorectal cancer by taking overall good care of your body. The following are some health maintenance suggestions:
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Being physically active
- Avoiding smoking or drinking too much alcohol
Get a Screening This March
If you or a loved one is age 50 or older, consider making March the month you get screened for colorectal cancer. The earlier the cancer is detected, the greater the chances of survival are. Don’t put off getting a simple screening that could mean the difference between life and death. Call your doctor today.
Enlist the compassionate experience of Dr. Bradley Rieders and Dr. Gautam Reddy at GastroCare LI. They can help you determine which screening is best for you and help with any other gastrointestinal issues you may be struggling with. Contact us today at (516) 265-7049 or visit us online to schedule a colorectal screening. It just may be the most important decision you make this March.