June is National Cancer Survivor Month, a time to celebrate the 15.5 million Americans who are currently in treatment for cancer, as well as those who have finished treatment and are cancer-free.
With the advancement of modern medicine and surgical techniques, there are more cancer survivors today than ever before. But there is still an urgent need to increase awareness of gastro-intestinal (GI) cancers.
GI cancers include cancers of the esophagus, gallbladder, liver, pancreas, stomach, small intestine, colon, rectum and anus. Overall, cancers and deaths from cancer involving the GI system outnumber those of any other system in the body.
Colon Cancer: A Preventable Disease
Colon cancer is the most common of the GI cancers. Colon cancer is the third-leading cause of cancer death among men and women in the U.S., affecting one in every 20 individuals. It is estimated that there will be 97,220 new cases of colon cancer during 2018 (American Cancer Society).
Although colon cancer is preventable through routine colonoscopies, one of every three eligible Americans is not being screened. This increases the risk of advanced stage colon cancer which is challenging to treat and is associated with poor outcomes.
Schedule a Colonoscopy to Prevent Colon Cancer
During National Cancer Survivor Month, schedule a colonoscopy if you are due for a screening. Adults who are at average risk for colon cancer should get a baseline colonoscopy at age 50, but certain risk factors could indicate a need for early screening. These include being African American or having a personal or family history of polyps or colon cancer.
Talk with your doctor about your personal risk for colon cancer and the right time for you to have a colonoscopy. Then, encourage friends and loved ones to be screened. Colonoscopies are not only used to diagnose cancer – they are used to prevent and treat cancer as well. Help spread the word that screenings save lives.