March is colorectal cancer awareness month. The good news is that colorectal cancer is different than most cancers because it's largely preventable and beatable. However, it remains the second‐leading cause of cancer death in both men and women in the United States. Each year, tens of thousands of lives are lost to this disease. Wider use of proven screening tests could save more than half of these lives.
Colon cancer almost always begins with a polyp -a small growth on the lining of the colon or rectum. Polyps do not typically cause symptoms until the cancer has progressed to a more advanced stage. A colonoscopy can find and remove these growths before they turn into cancer. With regular screening, colon cancer can be found early. Cancer treatments are most effective when the cancer is in its earliest stages.
Symptoms of colorectal cancer include a change in bowel habits, abdominal discomfort, bleeding from the rectum, or weakness and fatigue. Anyone with these symptoms should speak with their doctor.
Men and women who are 50 or older should talk to their doctor about having a colonoscopy, even if they are not experiencing symptoms of cancer. Individuals who have family members with a history of colon cancer should ask their doctor if screening should begin before the age of 50.
In recognition of colorectal cancer awareness month, the Coliseum Cancer Institute will once again bring the Undy 5K Run/Walk to Macon. On Saturday, April 1, racers will gather at Wesleyan College at 9:00 a.m. wearing their underwear on the outside of their race attire as a tongue-in-cheek reference to the area on the body affected by colon cancer. The 2017 Macon Undy 5K Run/Walk financially supports the efforts of the Colon Cancer Alliance to provide colon cancer screening and education to patients in Middle Georgia. Anyone wishing to participate in this family-oriented, fun event, can visit www.undyrunwalk.org and choose Macon as their race location to register for the event.