March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month
Colorectal cancer is the second deadliest cancer in the United States. Every March, National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month spotlights this disease and inspires more people to get screened. Two reasons why getting screened matters:
Screening can find the warning signs of colon and rectal cancer, letting doctors take action to prevent the disease.
Screening can also find colorectal cancer early, when treatment is most effective.
People should start getting screened regularly at age 45. However, you may need to be tested earlier or more often than other people if you have inflammatory bowel disease such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, a personal or family history of colorectal cancer or colorectal polyps, or a genetic syndrome such as familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) or hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer (Lynch syndrome). If you think any of these things is true for you, ask your doctor when and how often you should be tested.
Common questions people may have:
1. The only screening test for colorectal cancer is colonoscopy?
The correct answer is:
Adults at average risk have several types of screening test options for colorectal cancer, including some that can be done at home. Learn about all of the screening test options and talk to your doctor about which is right for you. The best test is the one you do!
2. If you don’t have any symptoms, it means you don’t have colorectal cancer.
The correct answer is:
Colorectal polyps and colorectal cancer don’t always cause symptoms, especially early on. But screening can find polyps and colorectal cancer even before symptoms appear. That’s why getting screened regularly for colorectal cancer is so important.
What can you do as a congregation?
Hang fliers and put reminders in your church bulletin about Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month.
Encourage your loved ones and congregation members to see their physicians and ask about appropriate screenings.
Invite your local hospital speakers bureau for a seminar on Colorectal Cancer Awareness.
Some studies suggest that people may reduce their risk of developing colorectal cancer by increasing physical activity, keeping a healthy weight, limiting alcohol consumption, and avoiding tobacco.
Call for your screening appointment today!
In His joy and service,
Colleen Bottcher RN, BSN, FCN
NJ District LCMS Parish Nurse
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