March is colorectal cancer awareness month

The month of March is dedicated to raising awareness of colorectal cancer, which is the second-deadliest cancer in the United States. It can, however, be prevented. Finding and removing precancerous polyps that can develop into cancer can stop colorectal cancer before it even starts. Screenings can also detect colorectal cancer early, when it is most curable.

All adults over the age of 50 are at risk for colorectal cancer and should be screened for adenomatous polyps and cancer. Some people have a greater than average risk and should work with their doctor to develop an individualized screening plan. While screening is the most important way to prevent colorectal cancer, there are lifestyle changes that can reduce your risk for polyps and colorectal cancer.

Symptoms of colon or rectal cancer include:

•  A change in bowel habits

•  Blood in the stool

•  Diarrhea, constipation, or feeling that the bowel does not empty completely

•  Stools that are narrower than usual

•  General abdominal discomfort (frequent gas pains, bloating, fullness or cramps).

•  Weight loss with no known reason

•  Constant tiredness or anemia that cannot be explained

•  Vomiting

Receiving a colonoscopy is one of the best ways to protect yourself from colon cancer, and is especially important for those over 50. To schedule your colonoscopy, please call 740-356-6828.