Colon cancer may be the second leading cause of overall cancer deaths in the United States, but it doesn’t have to stay that way. Through a national campaign of education, early screening and diagnosis, Northeast Digestive Health Center is fighting to knock colon cancer out as one of the top three killer cancers – for good.
March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month and Friday, March 4, is National Dress in Blue Day, a movement spearheaded by the Colon Cancer Alliance. “It’s a time to honor and remember loved ones who have been affected by colon cancer and to motivate people to talk about colon cancer and take the important steps to get screened,” said Laura Henry, practice director for Northeast Digestive Health Center.
Because there are often no symptoms when colon cancer is first developing, early detection through screening can dramatically reduce your risk. One of the reasons Northeast Digestive Health Center created its Open Access program was to make colon cancer screening more accessible and help save lives.
“If you’re healthy and over 50, you can complete and submit our simple survey,” Henry said. “Once the questionnaire has been reviewed by our physicians, the office will contact you to let you know if you can go ahead and schedule a colonoscopy, or if you need to be seen by a physician beforehand.”
The benefits of early detection and treatment are substantial because most colon cancers start as small polyps. If physicians can find these polyps while they are still non-cancerous, they can remove them and help prevent the risk of colon cancer by up to 90 percent. Timely and regular screening can also help detect colon cancer early, when it is more treatable.
However, screening is only part of the solution to help slash colon cancer stats. People also can lower their risk of getting the disease by avoiding high-fat foods; eating plenty of vegetables, fruits and other high-fiber foods; exercising regularly; maintaining a healthy body weight; avoiding smoking; and only drinking alcohol in moderation.
Northeast Digestive Health Center also is working to combat colon cancer by hosting its fifth annual Highway to Health Car Show on April 16 and helping sponsor the Colon Cancer Coalition’s Get Your Rear in Gear event in Charlotte on March 5.
“Colon cancer doesn’t garner the same attention as some other cancers, but by joining Colon Cancer Awareness Month efforts like these we hope to substantially increase the number of people who get screened, diagnosed and treated early.”
Colon Cancer & Awareness Month Resources