Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death. Wondering what you need to know and, more importantly, what you can do to stay healthy? March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, so this is a good time to do some research.
Simply put, colon cancer screening saves lives. Most colon cancer starts as noncancerous polyps that only become cancerous over a long period of time. A colonoscopy can find and remove polyps before they become cancerous. According to the American Cancer Society, the survival rate is 90 percent when colon cancer is found early, and in many cases, screening can actually prevent colon cancer. The American Cancer Society screening recommendations advise anyone at average risk for colon cancer to have a colonoscopy at age 50, and once every 10 years after that. People with a high risk for the disease should talk to their doctor about when to be tested and how frequently.
Factors that may increase a person’s risk of colon cancer include:
- being over age 50
- having a family history of the disease
- being African American
- having another intestinal disease
- being overweight
- heavy drinking
- eating a poor diet
Treatment for colon cancer can vary depending on a person’s specific medical circumstances, including the stage of the disease (colon cancer is classified from stage 0 to stage 4). Some standard options include chemotherapy, radiation, targeted therapy and surgery. Often doctors recommend a combination of treatment options.
To learn more about colon cancer prevention and treatment, we invite you to join us for the Basics of Colon Cancer, a seminar hosted by St. Petersburg General Hospital. This free event, led by Dr. Manu Nanda (right), will be held at noon on Friday, March 16, at the YMCA Jim & Heather Gills Center located at 3200 1st Avenue South, St. Petersburg, Florida 33712. Register online or call 1-888-741-5122.