The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has declared March Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, which means it is time to spread the word about the best ways to prevent and treat colorectal cancer in Los Angeles. This disease is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States, following only lung cancer. It’s a condition that affects many people’s lives in the United States, but it is also highly preventable. Learning about colorectal cancer, understanding your risk for the disease and recognizing the warning signs can help you keep colorectal cancer from affecting you.
There are many lifestyle choices that are regarded as beneficial forms of cancer prevention. Everything from eating a plant-based diet to quitting smoking can help you reduce your risk of cancer, but colorectal cancer can also be prevented with a highly effective diagnostic test: the colonoscopy. When performed regularly, colonoscopies can be hugely beneficial in the prevention of colon cancer.
Colonoscopies are recommended for those who meet the following guidelines:
- Over the age of 50
- A personal or family history of colorectal cancer
- Experiencing gastrointestinal symptoms like chronic constipation, diarrhea, severe cramping, bloody stools or other similar symptoms
How do Colonoscopies Prevent Colon Cancer?
Colonoscopies are recommended for everyone over the age of 50. During a colonoscopy, a long, flexible tube called a colonoscope is used to examine the anus, rectum and large intestine for the early signs of cancer. Your colorectal specialist can examine the internal lining of the large intestine or colon, spotting any abnormalities or growths that may be developing within the intestinal tract.
The earliest signs of colon cancer can be detected during a standard colonoscopy. These precancerous growths are known as polyps, and they can be detected, removed and analyzed prior to the development of colon cancer, giving you a head start at overcoming the disease before it becomes a more serious problem.
Unfortunately, many people choose not to have regular colonoscopy examinations. The CDC has dedicated the month of March to increasing awareness about the benefits of these screening procedures as well as of the dangerous health consequences that could develop as a result of colorectal cancer.
If you have not had a colonoscopy and meet the criteria listed above, contact your colorectal surgeon in Los Angeles and take the steps necessary to prevent colon cancer from interfering with your life.