March 2018 is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month
Colorectal cancer isn’t spoken about a lot, due to what it is and where it happens. It’s natural for human beings to take their digestive system for granted, to do their business, so to speak, and then forget about it.
Until problems start happening, nobody is really concerned with colon health.
The fact is, colorectal cancer is a leading form of cancer in both men and women combined, toggling back and forth between second, third, and fourth on the list of top five cancers diagnosed.
Colorectal cancer keeps the same company as breast cancer, prostate cancer, and bladder cancer. That’s why it’s important to a.) raise awareness about it, and b.) do everything we can to stop colorectal cancer in its tracks.
What Exactly is Colorectal Cancer?
Colorectal cancer starts in the rectum or colon. Most types of colorectal cancers start as growths (or polyps) on the colon or rectum’s inner lining. Some polyps have the potential to turn cancerous over time.
A polyp generally takes 10 to 15 years to turn cancerous, but we’d like to be clear that not all polyps will turn into cancer. But it’s important to catch these early so we can deal with them before they become potentially serious issues.
Colorectal Cancer Risk Factors
Naturally, you might be asking yourself, “Am I at risk for colorectal cancer?”
It’s certainly true that certain factors will increase a person’s chance of getting colorectal cancer. Here are a few:
- Being overweight
- Being physically inactive
- Keeping a diet high in red meat (beef, pork, even lamb)
- Moderate to heavy alcohol use (more than 2 drinks daily)
- Family history / genetics
- Inflammatory bowel disease
If you fall under any of these risk factors, it’s important to keep an eye on your colorectal health and schedule a screening at least once a year in adulthood and beyond.
Colorectal Cancer Symptoms
If you find yourself exhibiting any of the following symptoms (or any combination of them), please contact Beverly Hills Center for Digestive Health immediately, so we can assess the situation and avoid serious trouble down the road.
- Dramatic change in bowel movements (sudden diarrhea, constipation, or narrow stool lasting more than a few days).
- Bowel movement sensation that isn’t relieved after going to the bathroom.
- Rectal bleeding (looking for bright red blood that isn’t brought on by rough toilet paper).
- Bloody stool, which may make the stool appear dark.
- Abdominal cramping.
- Belly pain.
- Unexplained weight loss.
1 in 20 people will get colorectal cancer in their lifetime. 1 in 3 people are not up to date when it comes to their colorectal cancer screenings, which is a shame, because 60% of colorectal cancer deaths could have been prevented with a screening.
We’re here to help. Beverly Hills Center for Digestive Health believes just as much in preventive medicine as we do in helping you deal with issues when they arise for you. Schedule your next colorectal cancer screening today with Dr. Davidson. We provide a warm, comfortable atmosphere where the focus remains on keeping you healthy.