March into Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month!

By Riva Preil

Join us at Beyond Basics Physical Therapy in recognizing March as Colorectal Cancer (CRC) Awareness Month.  According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, CRC is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States among cancers that affect both genders.  Each year, approximately 140,000 Americans are diagnosed with CRC, and about 50,000 of those cases are fatal.

My goal in citing those statistics is NOT  to frighten my readers! Rather, it is to raise public awareness regarding this disease because SCREENING SAVES LIVES!  In fact, according to the CDC, 60% of CRC related deaths would be avoided if individuals 50 years of age and older would be screened on a regular basis.  Screening tests can detect precancerous polyps which can then be removed prior to developing into a dangerous cancer.  If, in fact, the individual already has cancer, the tests can detect the disease during its early stages and allow for earlier treatment (which increases the likelihood of being cured).

The three screening tests for CRC are colonoscopy (recommended once every ten years), high sensitivity fecal occult blood test (FOBT, recommended annually), and sigmoidoscopy (recommended once every five year).  The symptoms of colon cancer include blood in bowel movements, unrelenting stomach pains, cramps, or aches, and unexplained weight loss. Obviously, if you or someone you know is experiencing these symptoms, don’t wait for your annual FOBT or once in a decade colonoscopy!  Please speak with your primary care physician immediately if you are experiencing any of these symptoms.

AN OUNCE OF PREVENTION IS WORTH MORE THAN A POUND OF CURE!  Please take the opportunity this March to give your colon and rectum the attention they deserve.  For more information, please refer to the links below (courtesy of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention).
http://www.cdc.gov/cancer/colorectal/pdf/Basic_FS_Eng_Color.pdf
http://www.cdc.gov/cancer/colorectal/pdf/SFL_brochure.pdf

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