March: National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness month.  As with most cancer and diseases, prevention and a proactive approach to your health can help save your life.

In an article published by Medical News Today,

“Colorectal cancer, also known as bowel cancer, colon cancer, or rectal cancer, is any cancer that affects the colon and the rectum. The American Cancer Society estimates that about 1 in 21 men and 1 in 23 women in the United States will develop colorectal cancer during their lifetime.”

Colon cancer is the third most common type of cancer affecting Americans today. 

March 3rd was the designated day to show your awareness of colon cancer.  A dark blue ribbon is worn to show your support to this preventable and beatable disease. 

You can control your own health by making changes that lower your risk of developing colon cancer:

  • Consuming a lot of red meat or processed meat can increase your risk of developing colon cancer.  A fiber-rich diet can lessen your chances for colon cancer.
  • Screening and early detection for men and women over the age of 50 is a critical component to maintaining a healthy lifestyle.  Earlier screening if there is a family history of colon cancer is vitally important.

Do you recognize the symptoms of colorectal cancer?

Some common symptoms to look for:

  • Blood in your stool (stool looks black)
  • Changes in bowel habits
  • Pain and bloating in the abdomen
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Fatigue or tiredness 

These are some but not all of the symptoms associated with colon cancer.  If you have any of these symptoms that persist for longer than two to four weeks, you need to see your physician immediately for further testing.

In 2016, Science Daily published a report entitled "Coffee Consumption Linked to Decreased Risk of Colorectal Cancer."

According to the Univerisity of Southern California's Health Sciences Department, Data shows that even moderate coffee consumption (one to two servings per day) was associated with a reduction in the odds of developing colorectal cancer.  The decreased risk was seen across all types of coffee, both caffeinated and decaffeinated - Keep enjoying your coffee. 

To learn more about Colorectal Cancer Education and Outreach, download this educational guide by the Cancer Prevention, Education Screening and Treatment program at the Maryland Department fo Health. 

“Medical science has proven time and again that when the resources are provided, great progress in the treatment, cure, and prevention of disease can occur."

- Michael J. Fox