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Press Release Archive (2014)

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March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month

Preventable. Treatable. Beatable.

Blue star colon logoWhy do we need to raise awareness of colon cancer?

Because:

  • Colon cancer is the 2nd leading cause of cancer deaths in the U.S.
  • Approximately 150,000 Americans will be diagnosed with colon cancer each year.
  • Colon cancer often has no symptoms at all until it's at an advanced stage.
  • Colon cancer is 80% preventable when detected early.
  • You can reduce your risk through regular screenings.
  • Beginning at age 50 (or earlier if you have a family history), everyone should get their colon checked.

Lack of general public awareness of the disease has limited funding for research, kept colon cancer patients unaware of their treatment options and prevented early detection and treatment in far too many cases. Be informed and prevent this disease and its consequences.

Colorectal Cancer (also referred to as colon cancer) is a cancer that develops in the colon or the rectum. These parts of the digestive system are also called the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. The digestive system processes food for energy and rids the body of solid waste. Colorectal cancer usually develops slowly over a period of many years. Before a cancer develops, it usually begins as a non-cancerous polyp. A polyp is an abnormal growth of tissue lining the colon or rectum. One specific type of polyp, called an adenoma, has the greatest risk of becoming a cancer.

Colorectal Cancer Signs & Symptoms

Colorectal cancer is often present in people without symptoms. This is why screening for colorectal cancer is so important. The following signs or symptoms, however, might indicate colorectal cancer:

  • Blood in your stools
  • Narrower than normal stools
  • Unexplained abdominal pain
  • Unexplained change in bowel habits
  • Unexplained anemia Unexplained weight loss

These symptoms may be caused by other benign diseases such as hemorrhoids, inflammation in the colon or irritable bowel syndrome. If you experience any of these symptoms for more than a few days, talk with a gastrointestinal specialist about them. Using our Find a Physician feature, you can locate a qualified gastrointestinal endoscopist in your area.

Learn about the Colon/Rectal Cancer Clinical Trials currently open at the Lowell General Cancer Center.

Find out more about Colon Cancer Screening.

Help Spread the Word!

By wearing a blue ribbon, bracelet or other sign, you can let people know that they should talk to their doctor if they have a family history of colon cancer or polyps, or are experiencing symptoms. Early detection of polyps and other abnormalities can actual prevent cancer or can begin treatment with a high chance of survival!

For more information, the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy is proud to bring you a web site dedicated to educating patients about colorectal cancer and what can be done to prevent it.

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