- The month of March is observed as Colorectal Cancer
- Colorectal cancer is treatable,
which occurs in the colon or rectum or both
- It is the second leading cause of cancer death and
third most common cancer in the U.S
- Early detection makes it highly treatable through
surgery and chemotherapy
The month of
March every year is dedicated to colorectal cancer awareness and the importance
of preventive measures, screening and treatment of the cancer is highlighted. A
dark blue awareness ribbon is associated with colorectal cancer
Colorectal CancerColorectal cancer is a type of cancer that is
potentially fatal, but treatable.
- Cancer has been identified as the third most commonly diagnosed
cancer and the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States.
- The American Cancer Society has estimated that 50,260
will die from this disease and 95,520 people will be diagnosed with colon
cancer and 39,910 with rectal cancer
begins as a clump of cells known as polyps in the lining of the colon or
rectum. These polyps over time, with age, may turn cancerous.
early detection using
appropriate screening techniques for the removal of pre-cancerous polyps is
recommended to prevent the
development of cancer.
Colorectal Cancer - Prevention
remains the most important and cost-effective approach to control all forms of
cancer. Eating well, eating right, exercising, knowing and understanding family
history, avoiding alcohol and tobacco
are strategies recommended to keep cancer at bay.
colorectal cancer is commonly found in people over 50 years of age, the
proportion of cases diagnosed in those below 50 has been steadily increasing.
African Americans and those with a first-degree relative having
colorectal cancer are at a higher risk of developing cancer. It is recommended
that people from this group start getting screened earlier and more frequently
than the others.
Symptoms of Colorectal cancer
cancer symptoms may include:
- Change in bowel habits - diarrhea or constipation
- Persistent abdominal discomfort - pain, cramps, feeling
- Rectal bleeding - blood in the
- Fatigue and weakness - weight loss, nausea, vomiting
symptoms may be associated with other health conditions as well and require a
medical professional's opinion and should not be ignored. Pain is not one of the early
signs of cancer and all adults over 50 years of age should get screened
irrespective of the presence of the symptoms.
Screening for Colorectal Cancer Getting screened is one of the best
ways to reduce the risk of developing colorectal cancer
. It is
recommended that all men and women, irrespective of individual risk factors
should start getting screened once they turn 45.
‘The month of March is observed as Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month and it is time to get screened this year to prevent and fight cancer.’
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in preventing polyps from turning cancerous and in their timely removal.
The following are some of the screening methods used
every 5-10 years
Immunochemical Test (FIT or iFBOT): required annually
Fecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT): annually
Sigmoidoscopy: every 5 years
Colonoscopy: every 5 years
DNA: every 3 years
Contrast Barium Enema: every 5-10 years
Treating Colorectal Cancer Staging
is the process that is used to determine the extent to which cancer has
spread within the colon or rectum and to the other body parts. Staging helps
in deciding the best treatment plan for a patient.
The following are the various stages of cancer and the treatment options
This year's colorectal cancer awareness is about
understanding the facts and not making assumptions
Families and caregivers play a vital role in
helping a patient right from screening through all the stages.
- In Stage 0, cancer has not moved from where it started
- In Stage 1, cancer has begun to spread - surgery
- In Stage 2, cancer has spread to nearby tissues -
- In Stage 3, cancer has attacked the lymph nodes -
- In Stage 4, cancer spread to distant parts of the body
(commonly liver and lungs) - surgery/chemotherapy/radiation/
It is important to have a discussion with the family about getting
screened for cancer this year. References :
- Colorectal Cancer Info- (https://www.ccalliance.org/colorectal-cancer-information)
- Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month - (https://www.moh.gov.sa/en/HealthAwareness/healthDay/2019/Pages/HealthDay-2019-03-01-31.aspx )