Colon Cancer Awareness Month
Colorectal cancer is the third most prevalent type of cancer diagnosed in the United States. According to the American Cancer Society, around one out of every 23 men and one out of every 24 women may develop this malignancy at some point in their lives. According to current estimates, there will be 106,970 new cases of colon cancer and 46,050 new cases of rectal cancer in the United States in 2023. The American Cancer Society’s Colorectal Cancer Facts & Statistics report contains further statistics. (ACSCC, 2023)
What Is Colorectal Cancer?
Cancer is defined by uncontrollable cell division. Colorectal cancer develops when a tumor of this type develops in the colon or rectum (CRC). The last component of the gastrointestinal (GI) system is the large intestine, which contains the colon and rectum (colorectum) as well as the anus. Because the large intestine is also known as the bowel, CRC is also known as bowel cancer.
Colorectal Cancer Prevalence
Colorectal cancer is the most common cancer in the United States, accounting for more than half of all cases and fatalities. The International Institute for Research on Cancer (IARC) predicts that the global burden of colorectal cancer would climb by 56% between 2020 and 2040, reaching more than 3 million new cases each year. Disease-related mortality is expected to grow 69% by 2040, reaching nearly 1.6 million deaths worldwide. (IARC, 2023)
Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month 2023 Goals
- Raising awareness of colorectal cancer screening, detection, and prevention
- Increasing awareness of the risk factors for colorectal cancer
- To assist colorectal cancer survivors and their families
What is the significance of screening?
Colorectal cancer screening is crucial because it can detect the disease in its early stages when it is most curable. Screening can also aid in disease prevention by detecting and eliminating precancerous polyps before they develop into cancer.
Various colorectal cancer screening tests are available, including stool testing, flexible sigmoidoscopy, and colonoscopy. Anybody over the age of 45, or earlier if there is a family history of the disease or other risk factors, should have a colonoscopy.
Colorectal cancer risk factors include:
A person’s risk of acquiring colorectal cancer can be increased by a number of risk factors, including:
- Age: The risk of colorectal cancer increases with age, and most cases occur in people over 50 years old.
- Family history: Individuals with a family history of colorectal cancer or polyps are at higher risk of developing the disease.
- Lifestyle factors: A diet high in red and processed meats, high in fat and low in fibers, a sedentary lifestyle, and smoking can increase the risk of colorectal cancer.
- Inflammatory bowel disease: Individuals with conditions such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are at higher risk of developing colorectal cancer.
Colonoscopy Defined & Benefits
Colonoscopy is a diagnostic procedure used to examine the inside of the colon (large intestine) for abnormal growths, such as polyps or cancer.
The benefits of a colonoscopy include:
- Early detection: Colonoscopy can detect colorectal cancer at an early stage, when it is most treatable. It can also detect precancerous polyps, which can be removed during the same procedure.
- Improved outcomes: Early detection and removal of precancerous polyps through colonoscopy can significantly reduce the risk of developing colorectal cancer.
- Comprehensive evaluation: Colonoscopy allows the doctor to examine the entire colon, which is not possible with other screening tests, such as stool tests. This comprehensive evaluation provides a more accurate diagnosis and can help the doctor determine the best course of treatment.
- Confirm symptoms: If you are experiencing symptoms such as abdominal pain, rectal bleeding or changes in bowel habits, a colonoscopy can help determine the cause of your symptoms and provide the appropriate treatment.
- Prevention: Colonoscopy can prevent colorectal cancer by removing precancerous polyps. It is recommended for people over the age of 45, or for those with a family history of colorectal cancer, to have a colonoscopy as a preventive measure.
- Peace of mind: Colonoscopy can provide peace of mind by ruling out the presence of colorectal cancer or other serious conditions.
(Mayo Clinic, 2022)
Awareness Saves Lives
In conclusion, Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month is an important time to raise public awareness about the importance of early detection and screening for colorectal cancer. By understanding the risk factors, symptoms and screening options, individuals can take steps to protect their health and reduce their risk of developing colorectal cancer. By working together, we can help reduce this disease’s incidence and mortality rates.
Here is a great video to look at about Colorectal Cancer – https://youtu.be/oB2AYcZfc9Q (YT, 2023)
“Colon Cancer.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 8 Oct. 2022, www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/colon-cancer/symptoms-causes/syc-20353669
World Health Organization, World Health Organization, 2023, www.iarc.who.int/news-events/global-burden-of-colorectal-cancer-in-2020-and-2040-incidence-and-mortality-estimates-from-globocan/