March 1st has been declared National Dress in Blue Day to raise awareness for colorectal cancer, but raising awareness shouldn’t end there. Colorectal cancer is one of the most detectable, and if caught early, treatable cancers – yet it is the second leading cancer killer in the United States. Why is that?
One of the big issues we have here is lack of screening. Screening is the best way to detect polyps, which are the growths that can develop into cancer. These polyps can be easily removed, and the risk of cancer is then significantly lowered. According to the CDC, if everyone age 50 or older had regular screenings, at least 60% of deaths from colorectal cancer could be avoided. The solution seems so obvious, but why aren’t we getting screened?
Lack of awareness
Wearing blue is just one way you can raise awareness for colorectal cancer. Start a conversation with your family, friends and coworkers about this important issue. Let them know you care about them and that you’re there to support them, no matter how uncomfortable it may be. Remind them that a simple screen could save their life. Visit the Colon Cancer Alliance website to learn other ways you can get involved.
Lack of physician recommendation
Doctor’s have a lot to remind us about, and sometimes screening recommendations can get missed. Be active in your goal to live a healthier life and talk with your doctor about getting screened. There are different screening options and your doctor can help you decide which test or tests are right for you. It is especially important to talk to you doctor if there is a history of colorectal cancer in your family or if you are 50 or older.
Let’s face it … talking to anyone about your rear is not the most comfortable conversation to have. But what if that conversation could save your life? It doesn’t seem like that big of a deal anymore, now does it? If you’re talking to a family member, friend or coworker, use these conversation starters to help bring up the topic so it’s a little less uncomfortable. There is nothing embarrassing about taking care of your health.
Anxiety and fear
Regardless of popular belief, getting screened is not painful. Depending on the type of test, your doctor may sedate you so it will be over before you know it. If it’s the prep-work you’re worried about, talk to your doctor about different options and medications that can make it easier and more comfortable for you.
There are no excuses for not getting screened. By working together, we can create a future free of colon cancer. Show your support this March and throughout the year. Join me in wearing blue and spreading the word about colon cancer awareness. Click here for a short PSA featuring Diane Keaton about colon cancer screenings.
Photo credit: TipsTimes