March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

 
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March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. Is it time for your screening? Regular screening, beginning at age 50, is the key to preventing colorectal cancer.

Don’t assume you’re too young for colorectal cancer. When people stop assuming, they get screened, they reach out for support, they pay attention to their symptoms, and they advocate for their health.

The truth is you’re never too young and it’s on the rise in those under age 50. In fact, 1 in 9 are diagnosed before age 50.

While cancer impacts people of all ages, races, ethnicities, and sexes, it does not always affect them equally. Differences in genetics, hormones, environmental exposures, and other factors can lead to differences in risk among different groups of people. For most cancers, though, increasing age is the most important risk factor.

 

Rate of New Colon and Rectum Cancers by Age

Per 100,000 people; Source: CDC, 2015

In a recent survey, young cancer survivors said:

  • 71% were diagnosed at an advanced stage of the disease

  • 67% saw at least 2 doctors and some more than 4 prior to a correct diagnosis

  • 64% of medical professionals did not talk about fertility preservation during diagnosis or treatment

  • 63% of patients waited at least 3 months after noticing their symptoms to talk to a doctor

  • 50% of doctors did not talk to the patient’s family about their elevated risk of the disease and their need for screening

 

What are the warning signs?

  • Rectal bleeding, dark or black stool

  • Change in bowel habits

  • Diarrhea and/or constipation

  • Narrowing of stool

  • Persistent abdominal discomfort (cramps, gas, pain, or feeling bloated)

  • Anemia

  • Unexplained weight loss

  • Weakness or fatigue

  • Nausea or vomiting

  • If you have Crohn’s, Colitis or IBS, you are at a high risk

Dr. Donald Doucet completed medical school at Louisiana State University and has been practicing medicine for over 35 years. Call (225) 638-4585 to schedule your initial consultation with Dr. Doucet today!