March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month! This is a great time to learn more about colorectal cancer and the ways in which it can be prevented and best treated.
A common colon screening method is a colonoscopy which allows doctors to see the colon and rectum to remove polyps. However, colonoscopies do not go without some gastrointestinal risks. However, there are other options for colorectal screening that is non-invasive and low-cost. For example, Fecal Immunochemical Test (FIT) is a lab test used to check stool samples for hidden (occult) blood and is usually repeated annually. The advantages of weighing FIT as a screening options is that it is stool based sample that can be done in the comfort of your own home. There is no need for sedation or an empty colon. You can find out more information about screening options, resources and locations for the underserved to receive free FIT screening tests at uhru.org.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that 68% of colorectal cancer deaths may be prevented if screening was more common. Additionally, it is recommended that screenings begin at age 45 and continue up to the age of 75. Therefore, it is vital to increase awareness and education on colorectal cancer and the many screening options. Colorectal Cancer awareness can be spread though social media. Social Media may be a vital resource to educate individuals on colorectal cancer and its many screening options according to individuals who suffer from it. Several TikTok users have created “vlogs” of their experiences with colorectal cancer while creating teachable moments for their audiences about colonoscopy screenings. You can find additional information and vlog post here: http://bit.ly/3FqcwmR
Another developing way to screen for colorectal cancer includes identifying biomarkers that detect diseases in samples of urine and feces. A new biomarker associated with colorectal cancer may be used for screenings in the upcoming future. Moreover, biomarkers associated with colorectal cancer may be detected and may play a vital role in preventative measures which includes CRC occurrence and mortality.
An early onset of colorectal cancer is forecasted to increase by up to 90% by the end of this decade. Therefore, when emphasizing the importance of screenings for colorectal cancer between the ages of 45-75, it is important to note barriers that may prevent individuals from undergoing relevant screenings. These barriers include the association between health disparities among varying races of men and their perceived “masculinity.” In one study surveying men, the results indicated an associated between decreased screening completions and the idea of “being strong.” These ideals may be a significant barrier to preventative measures for colorectal cancer, especially for men.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States among both men and women. Each year, approximately 140,000 people develop colorectal cancer and more than 50,000 people die of it.
Help make an impact on Colorectal Cancer and healthcare equity by going to uhru.org and clicking the "donate" button.
Written by: Leah Guven