Colorectal Cancer Awareness

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Let’s all face it. Getting older sucks! Sometimes. Okay, Imma tell you what I mean. When I was 22 years old and I had a pain in my patooty, colon cancer would not have come across my mind. I would have just thought, well, I gotta go take a dump.

But now, at smirkazoid years of age, when I get a pain, I think, what’s that? That’s strange. Never had that pain before. Oh no, what if this or what if that? And on and on. It’s a part of life that you just can’t ignore the changes in your body like you once did. So much so that March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. It reminds everybody but especially persons over 50 that prevention is the key. See the great tips below.

True? Or false?

Weight gain is a symptom of colorectal cancer. False
Finding and removing colon polyps prevents colorectal cancer. True
Men are more likely to develop colorectal cancer than women. False

Practice prevention.

Healthy habits, like these, go a long way in helping prevent colorectal cancer:

Don’t use tobacco.
Maintain a healthy weight.
Eat more high fiber foods, including vegetables, fruits and whole grains.
Stay physically active.
Get regular check-ups and screenings that your doctor recommends.

Colorectal cancer mostly starts with no symptoms at all, which is why routine screening beginning at age 50 for all normal-risk individuals is so important. Over time, though, there are a number of warning signs that can happen, such as:

Rectal bleeding.
Blood in your stool (bright red, black or very dark).
Temporary change in your bowel movements, especially in the shape of the stool (e.g., thin like a pencil).
Pain in having a bowel movement or the urge to move your bowels without having a bowel movement.
Frequent cramping pain in your lower belly.
Frequent gas pains.
Weight loss without dieting.

What should I do if I have these symptoms?

If you are having any of the above symptoms, especially if you are at risk of colorectal cancer, call your gastroenterologist or primary-care physician right away. He or she will ask questions about your symptoms and figure out the best diagnostic test for you.

I feel fine. Why not wait for these symptoms to develop, rather than have a colonoscopy?

Colorectal cancers found in patients with symptoms are more advanced and less likely to be cured.
Colorectal cancers found in people without symptoms are not as advanced and more frequently cured.
Precancerous polyps usually cause no symptoms, and removal of these polyps prevents colon cancer.

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