GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month brings understanding of the disease throughout the month of March. Wear Blue Day on Friday signified the fight against colon cancer.
According to health experts, screening is the number one way to prevent or detect colon cancer early. In some cases, colon cancer has a 90% survival rate.
The Colorectal Cancer Alliance said that colon cancer is a leading cancer in older individuals, but it’s now on the rise in younger people.
“I’ve definitely seen an uptick in the people under the age of 50. I’ve just recently seen individuals under the age of 40 with colorectal cancer so a little scary,” said Dr. Spencer Skelton, a colorectal surgeon at Carolina East Medical Center. “There seems to be an increase in the incidents and the number population.”
That’s why doctors are stressing the importance of getting screened. The screening age was pushed back to 40 years old from 50.
“Most people that have colon cancer don’t know that they have it,” said Dr. Drew Honaker, a clinical associate professor and colorectal surgeon at ECU Health. “There’s really no symptoms outside of maybe seeing some blood in your stool. It doesn’t hurt unless it gets very advanced, it won’t cause any symptoms and that’s why screenings have become so important.”
Dr. Skelton said if you have a history in your family, you need to be screened 10 years earlier than when your relative was diagnosed. He also mentions these symptoms to watch out for.
“If there’s any concern at all within bowel habits or abdominal discomfort or bleeding certainly don’t just chalk it up to maybe it’s just hemorrhoids but have somebody actually take a look at it,” said Dr. Skelton.
For more information on colon cancer, visit Colorectal Cancer Alliance.