March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month, which is a great time to talk about why colon cancer screening is so very important! Colon cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer worldwide, and it is estimated that over 140,000 people will be diagnosed this year. It is also estimated that while 51,000 people will die as a result of colon cancer, 60% of those deaths could have been prevented with screening.
Dr. Saleh Eftaiha, colorectal surgeon with Coliseum Surgical Specialists, said, “Colon cancer is one of the most preventable and treatable forms of cancer when it is found early. Routine screenings are so important because they can catch the disease early. Your risk of dying from colon cancer increases the longer the cancer goes undetected.”
Colonoscopies are often a dreaded word, but the procedure is simple and painless. If you’re 50 or older or fall into a high-risk group, talk to your physician about the type and frequency of colorectal cancer screening that is right for you. The United States Preventive Services Task Force recommends adults age 50 – 75 be screened for colorectal cancer. African-Americans are recommended to start screenings at age 45. However, a physician may recommend earlier screening if an individual:
- Has or has a close relative who’s had colorectal polyps or colorectal cancer.
- Has an inflammatory bowel disease such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis.
- Has a genetic syndrome such as familial adenomatous polyposis or hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer (Lynch Syndrome).
Because colon cancer is so common, it’s important to raise awareness of the cause, but middle Georgians can also help raise money as well! Coliseum Medical Centers will once again host the Undy Run/Walk to Macon, a timed 5K run/walk where racers are encouraged to wear 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 5K will be held on Saturday, March 21 at the Mathews Athletic Center of Wesleyan College.
The Macon Undy Run/Walk financially supports the efforts of the Colorectal Cancer Alliance to provide colon cancer screening and education to patients in Middle Georgia. The event is held in cities across the country to educate the public about colon cancer, promote screenings and encourage people to talk about the disease. To register, visit www.undyrunwalk.org.
To learn more information about the importance of colon cancer screening, visit www.ColiseumHealthSystem.com or call (478) 746-4646. There, you can also find a referral to a qualified physician to schedule your cancer screening! Get to “the bottom” of colon cancer screening and if you fall within the age recommendations for screening, make sure you are up to date on your colonoscopy. It can, quite literally, save your life!