Routine Screenings Can Save Lives
March marks the annual Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. This annual campaign raises awareness of the disease and fundraises for research into its cause, prevention, diagnosis and treatment as well as to support those affected by colorectal cancer. General Surgeons at Red Bud Regional Hospital, discusses the importance of screenings, symptoms to be aware of and local screening options available to the community.
“Colorectal cancer, which is a malignant growth inside the colon or rectum, is the third most common cancer and the second leading cause of cancer death in the U.S. among men and women combined,” Dr. Baghmanli states. “The good news is colorectal cancer screenings can help prevent the disease through early detection and removal of polyps, or abnormal growths.”
Studies have shown a steady decrease in the death rates from colorectal cancer over the past 20 years. And recent data suggests that approximately 50 percent of the reduction in colorectal cancer deaths is directly due to screening colonoscopies.
“Even with this reduction in cancer deaths, about one in three adults age 50 or older are still not getting the recommended testing,” says Baghmanli. “Screenings are recommended for men and women starting at age 50, every five to 10 years. Colonoscopies are recommended even if no symptoms are present.”
However, here are some warning signs that should not be ignored:
- Rectal bleeding
- Unexplained bowel habits changes (i.e. decreased stool output)
- Unexplained weight loss
- Anemia (low red blood cell count)