Senator Thomas P. Morahanis reminding members of the pubic that March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, and ‘an especially good time’ to make an appointment with one’s physician to have a colon check-up if you are over the age of 50.
Colorectal cancer is cancer of the colon or rectum and health officials and doctors report this particular type of cancer can be detected and successfully treated if you are diligent about screenings. "Despite the fact that it is highly preventable, approximately 145,290 new cases of colorectal cancer will be diagnosed in 2005 and 56,290 people will die from the disease," according to the Cancer Research and Prevention Foundation's website, www.preventcancer.org.
According to the Cancer Research and Prevention Foundation, "Most cases of the disease begin as non-cancerous polyps ... on the lining of the colon and rectum. These polyps can become cancerous. Removing these polyps can prevent colorectal cancers from ever developing."
Health officials recommend people should have regular screenings starting at the age of 50. Screenings should be conducted at least every five years. Those who have a higher risk of this disease, should start being screened at the age of 40. The National Cancer Institute reports that risk factors for colorectal cancer include age, family history, a history of polyps, a diet high in fat and low in calcium and fiber, and cigarette smoking. Having routine screenings performed, eating healthy and exercising regularly can help reduce the risk.
The National Cancer Institute, which is part of the federal government's National Institutes of Health, has information specialists that can answer questions and send materials on colorectal cancer. Call (800) 4-CANCER for more information.