March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness month, which brings awareness to cancers that occur in the colon or rectum. Colorectal cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer and is the second leading cause of cancer death in men and women in the United States.
The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2019, over 95,000 people will be diagnosed with colon cancer, nearly 40,000 people will be diagnosed with rectal cancer and over 50,000 people will die from this disease. Though there are often no signs or symptoms of colorectal cancer, possible symptoms include:
- A change in bowel habits
- Consistent abdominal discomfort
- Rectal bleeding
- Weakness or fatigue
People over age 50 have the highest risk of colorectal cancer. You may also be at higher risk if you smoke, are African American or have a family history of colorectal cancer.
“Everyone can take healthy steps to help prevent colorectal cancer,” said Carl Lokko, MD, of AdventHealth Medical Group General Surgery at Calhoun. “Avoid tobacco use, get plenty of physical activity and eat healthy. Also, people over age 50 should start being screened.”