March Is Colon Cancer Awareness Month
It’s time to don your dark blue ribbons and celebrate Colon Cancer Awareness Month this March. While the digestive system isn’t something we tend to talk about a lot, it’s time to change that. According to the American Cancer Society, colon cancer is both the third most common cancer (excluding skin cancer) and the third leading cause of cancer related death amongst women and second leading cause in men.
When Do I Need A Colonoscopy?
There are a lot of factors that can predispose you to colon cancer – some genetic, some lifestyle, and some age. Certain factors like diet, lifestyle, and regular exercise are within your control, while other genetic factors should be addressed with your doctor. One of the most important tools in the fight against colon cancer is receiving regular colonoscopy exams. The team at GI Associates can discuss your options for the exam and help determine when you should start receiving them. Traditionally, colonoscopies are performed on patients once they reach the age of 50, but if you have certain genetic predispositions to cancer, your doctor may recommend that you begin having regular colonoscopies earlier.
Although colonoscopies may be a dreaded medical procedure, the good news is that most patients only have to have them once every ten years, and they are a pretty simple exam. The procedure takes 30 to 60 minutes and consists of a small, lighted tube that is inserted in the rectum and guided through the colon. The intent of the exam is to check for polyps within the colon. These polyps can indicate a presence or potential for colon cancer, so if they are detected, they are then biopsied to determine if they are cancerous.
What Should I Do?
Celebrate Colon Cancer Awareness Month this year by making an appointment with GI Associates today and discussing any concerns. We can put you on the right track to help in the fight against colon cancer.