March is Colorectal Awareness Month. Here is a blog to help you understand what Colorectal is.
Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month is an important time to raise awareness about the importance of screening for and preventing colorectal cancer. Here are some things you may want to be aware of:
Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer in the world, but it is highly treatable when caught early. Early detection can also increase the likelihood of a cure.
Screening for colorectal cancer is recommended for most people starting at age 50, or earlier for those with a family history or other risk factors.
There are several screening options available, including colonoscopy, stool-based tests, and other imaging tests.
In addition to getting screened, there are several lifestyle changes that can help reduce the risk of colorectal cancer, including maintaining a healthy weight, getting regular exercise, quitting smoking, and eating a diet high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
Symptoms of colorectal cancer can include changes in bowel habits, rectal bleeding or blood in the stool, abdominal pain or cramping, and unexplained weight loss. If patients experience any of these symptoms, they should see a healthcare provider.
Finally, it's important to emphasize that colorectal cancer is not a death sentence and that many people survive and thrive after a diagnosis. Encourage patients to stay informed, get screened, and take control of their health.
What are the ways to screen for colorectal cancer? There are several ways to screen for colorectal cancer. The appropriate screening test or combination of tests depends on individual factors such as age, family history, and personal health history.
Here are some of the most common screening options:
Colonoscopy: This is considered the gold standard for colorectal cancer screening. During a colonoscopy, a doctor uses a long, flexible tube with a camera on the end to examine the entire colon and rectum. If any abnormal growths, called polyps, are found, they can be removed during the procedure.
Stool-based tests: These tests look for signs of cancer in a person's stool. They are less invasive than colonoscopy but may need to be done more frequently. There are several stool-based tests, including fecal immunochemical tests (FIT), fecal occult blood tests (FOBT), and stool DNA tests.
Flexible sigmoidoscopy: This is a similar procedure to colonoscopy but only examines the lower third of the colon. It may be used as an alternative to colonoscopy in some cases.
CT colonography: This is a type of imaging test that uses computed tomography (CT) to create images of the colon. It is sometimes called a virtual colonoscopy.
Double-contrast barium enema: This is another type of imaging test that uses X-rays and a contrast material to create images of the colon.
It's important to discuss the benefits and risks of each screening option with a healthcare provider to determine which test is right for each individual.
We are able to help you navigate these options to get you screened. Book an appointment today.