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Colorectal Cancer – Learn the Facts March 10, 2010

FOR MORE INFORMATION, contact Rebecca Sylvester at 706/828-2394.

Colorectal Cancer – Learn the Facts

AUGUSTA, GA. (March 5, 2010) – March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, a good time to learn more about one of the most preventable and highly curable cancers if detected early.

Colorectal Cancer, or cancer of the colon or rectum is equally common in men and women, according to Beth Barranco, a registered nurse from University Hospital.

An estimated 147,000 people were diagnosed in 2009 with nearly 50,000 of those dying from the disease.

Men and women over the age of 50 are at highest risk if they:

  • Have a personal or family history of colorectal cancer, benign (non cancerous) polyps or inflammatory bowel disease such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease
  • Use tobacco and are obese or have a sedentary lifestyle

Here’s how you can reduce your risk:

  • Be physically active
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Eat a high-fiber diet (fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans, whole grains)
  • Limit red meat consumption
  • Don't smoke or drink excessively

The early stages of colorectal cancer usually do not produce symptoms, but advanced disease may cause:

  • rectal bleeding/blood in the stool
  • stomach discomfort
  • diarrhea and/or constipation
  • weight loss
  • constant fatigue
  • vomiting

“The best time to begin regular screening is at an early age and before symptoms appear,” Ms. Barranco said. “Colonoscopy, sigmoidoscopy and double-contrast barium enema are tests that screen for pre-cancer and cancer. They should start at age 50 unless you have a family history or symptoms, and then they should start sooner.”

For more information on Colorectal Cancer, contact ASK-A-NURSE at 706-737-8423

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