Did you know? Memorial Healthcare is only one of seven hospitals in the state of Michigan to be recognized by the American Society of Gastroenterology for providing the highest quality and safety in Endoscopy. The month of March marks Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, and serves to remind us of the importance of the lifesaving benefits of colorectal cancer screening.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer in the United States and the second leading cause of death from cancer. Colorectal cancer affects people in all racial and ethnic groups and is most often found in people age 50 and older. However, colorectal cancer screening saves lives. “If everyone age 50 and older were screened regularly, 6 out of 10 deaths from colorectal cancer could be prevented,” states the Society of Gastroenterology Nurses and Associates.
Colon cancer is one of the most preventable forms of cancer, if caught early. The majority of colorectal cancers begin in the gland cells along the lining of the colon or rectum. Changes to these cells can cause polyps to form and may overtime become cancerous. Removal of these growths is usually done during a sedated procedure called a colonoscopy to prevent cancer from developing. Recovery is very quick and usually pain-free. Most polyps and early cancer do not have symptoms. That is why screening is so important.
Common Signs and Symptoms
- Rectal bleeding (either bright red or very dark in color)
- A change in bowel habits
- Abdominal discomfort
- Stools that are narrower than usual
- Frequent gas pains
- A feeling that your bowel isn’t completely empty
- Unexplained weight loss
- Constant tiredness