So how did March become Colon Cancer Awareness Month? Back in February 2000, while the nation was still catching their breath after a Y2K disaster that didn’t end up happening, President Clinton officially dedicated March as National Colon Cancer Awareness Month. We’re awful glad he did! Since then, Colon Cancer Awareness Month has grown to be a rallying point, a pillar for the colon cancer community to lean on.
What exactly does CCAM signify? Well, thousands of patients, survivors, caregivers and colon cancer awareness advocates throughout the country join forces, spreading colon cancer awareness. They do this by wearing blue (whether it be the blue ribbon or a blue garment), holding fundraising events and educational gatherings, and listening informative public speakers. Friends and families gather at these events to advance their own education on the matter, and to also raise new awareness.
Who is at risk for colon cancer? Many people might think that colon cancer is something that primarily affects men more advanced in age. It makes sense considering your doctor might only start recommending colonoscopies to patients 50 years and older. Let’s set the record straight right now, though. Colon cancer is not just an elderly man’s disease. Around 50,000 women (and growing) are diagnosed each year.
Colorectal Cancer remains the fourth most common form of cancer in the United States. It’s also the second leading cause of cancer deaths. Colorectal cancer can affect people from all racial and ethnic backgrounds, but it is most often found in people who are age 50 and older. But there is good news, here. If people stay on top of their regular screenings, colorectal cancer is highly treatable (6 out of 10 people will walk away from colorectal cancer and go on to continue living their lives if it’s caught in its early stages).
So what can we all do to help? How can we all make sure that Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month makes the difference it sets out to make? We can use this month of March to raise awareness, starting with wearing blue. Wear your favorite blue shirt, or, better yet, wear the blue ribbon that lets people know that you’re wearing “Blue for the Cure!” We can all do more. Communities, health professionals, and families need to be better about working together to encourage people to get screened, and to gather resources to make sure that everyone from all demographic backgrounds can get the screenings and treatment they need.
Get involved and put yourself out there. When somebody asks what you’re blue ribbon signifies, let them know! Communities, organizations, families, and individuals can get involved and spread the word. Start with your family, making sure that your parents and grandparents have had their routine screenings. Get active together, because exercise and a healthy lifestyle continue to be great ways to fight cancers of many types.
Ask your doctors, nurse, and family practitioners to talk to their patients more advanced in age about the importance of getting screened. Go above and beyond and see if you can hang a flyer in their reception room or even their office. These little things will end up making a big difference.
If you’d like to know more about what you can do to help raise awareness for Colon Cancer Awareness Month, or if you haven’t seen us in a while for your screening, contact Beverly Hills Center for Digestive Health today. Together we’ll stay proactive about your health.
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