It’s a disease that many are familiar with and is sometimes called the silent killer. While it’s awkward for some to talk about, this month is the perfect time to bring it up with your doctor to discuss your screening test options, since March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month.
Colorectal cancer affects your digestive system, specifically the colon and/or rectum. According to the 2019 American Cancer Society statistics it is the second leading cause of cancer death in America, behind lung cancer. If detected early, colorectal cancers are treatable with high survival rates.
It is recommended that most men and women have their first colorectal cancer screening at age 50. Researchers estimate that if everyone aged 50 years or older received appropriate screening, then 60% of deaths from this cancer could be avoided, so it’s a good idea to talk to your provider and familiarize yourself with the many testing options that would be best for you. The top risk factors to consider for colorectal cancer include:
- Age 50 + years;
- Personal or Family History of colorectal cancer and colorectal polyps;
- Personal History of diabetes or chronic inflammatory bowel diseases such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease.
Behavioral factors that can also impact your risk of colorectal cancer include physical inactivity, obesity, diet, smoking, alcohol, and certain medications. To reduce your risk, take care of yourself with the usual recommendations of regular exercise, balanced diet, and no smoking.
Screening tests are recommended because they have been shown to be helpful in both finding cancers early and decreasing the chance of death from cancer. There are actually several tests or test combinations available to screen for colorectal cancer, including stool and FIT tests, sigmoidoscopy, colonoscopy, or rectal exams. They even have easy to order FIT (Fecal Immunochemical Test) kits that now come right to your home for testing!
Anyone who has embarked on the task of trying to get their loved one to get a screening probably needed a great deal of convincing. Plus, when it comes to persuading someone to do something that’s good for them, there’s a fine line between love and annoyance. If you find yourself walking that line, try the following suggestions.
First, talk to your provider to get the facts and information you need about the disease and your screening options. They can also help answer questions or discern any fears. Second, try setting a good example yourself, by making sure that you schedule your own screenings. Third, be sensitive about any recommended testing and help them get through it. Lastly, use all your powers of persuasion to help them schedule any necessary appointments!
To learn more about colorectal cancer screening options, please call the Power County Family Clinic at 226-1057 to talk with one of our providers about the best option for you. We hope many of you will use this subject opportunity to discuss your options further and Power County Hospital District encourages everyone in our community to get the facts about colorectal cancer and get screened.