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Posts Tagged ‘Colorectal Awareness Month’

March is Colorectal Awareness Month!!! By Our March Student Pharmacist, Jeremy Church.

What is Colorectal Cancer?

Colorectal cancer is cancer that originates in the colon or rectum. Most cases begin by abnormal growths known as polyps. A polyp is a growth that starts in the inner lining of the colon or rectum and grows towards the center. Removing these potentially cancerous polyps can prevent cancer.

What puts you at greater risk to develop Colon Cancer?

Lifestyle is very important with preventing/managing all types of health conditions, colon cancer included. Eating a well-balanced diet with fruits and vegetables, controlling portion sizes of red meats, and limiting alcohol all go a long way in reducing your colorectal cancer risk.

A healthy lifestyle also includes exercise. Lack of exercise or being overweight/obese increases your risk of colon cancer. So get out and get moving.

Unfortunately, there are a few things that you cannot control. Aging (not all, but most cases of colon cancer develop after the age of 50), family history (someone in your family having colon cancer), and previous colon cancer puts you at a higher risk of developing colon cancer.

What are some symptoms?

Early on, patients may not experience any symptoms, but a few symptoms include fatigue, blood in stool, bloating, and change in bowel habits (increased gas).

How is colon cancer staged?

Localized-cancer is localized to the colon (diagnosed early on).

Regional-cancer has spread to a nearby organ (diagnosed somewhat early).

Metastatic-cancer has spread to lymph nodes or distant organs (diagnosed later on).

5-year survival rates: Localized 90%, regional 70%, metastatic 13%.

This means that 90% of patients diagnosed with localized colon cancer will live five years. Sadly, only 13% of patients diagnosed with metastatic colon cancer will live five years. SCREENING IS THE KEY!

Is it preventable?

YES!!! Colon cancer is one of the most preventable types of cancer.

Has your doctor mentioned the dreaded colonoscopy? Is it time?

Please do it. I know the prep and procedure are no fun but a colonoscopy can really save your life. Normally, a regular colonoscopy check begins at age 50 and is repeated every 10 years if the results are negative.