March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. Cancer of the colon or rectum is also called colorectal cancer. The colon and rectum are parts of the large intestine.
Colorectal cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer-related deaths for men and women. It affects all racial and ethnic groups and is most often found in people ages 50 and older. If you are 50 to 75 years old, get screened (tested) regularly for colorectal cancer.
The good news is that colorectal cancer is one of only a few cancers that can be prevented. A colonoscopy is a test that allows your doctor to look at the inner lining of your large intestine. During a colonoscopy, your doctor can usually find and remove any abnormal growths before they turn into cancer.
Here are some questions to ask your doctor about colorectal cancer screening:
- What is my risk for colorectal cancer?
- When do you recommend that I start getting tested?
- How often do I need to get tested?
- What happens during the screening?
- Are there any dangers or side effects of screening?
- How long will it take to get the results?
If you live in Carroll County, the Carroll County Health Department’s Colorectal Cancer Screening Program can help you get a colonoscopy if you are uninsured or under-insured. For more information, visit our website at cchd.maryland.gov or call 410-876-4429 or 410-876-4966.
While getting regular screening tests for colorectal cancer is the single best way to protect yourself from the disease, there are other steps you can take to help lower your risk of colorectal cancer:
- Quit smoking. Call 410-876-4429 for help, or visit cchd.maryland.gov and click to tobacco prevention.
- Eat lots of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains; limit red meat and processed meats.
- Get regular exercise.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- If you drink alcohol, limit the amount that you drink.
For more information call the Health Department at 410-876-4429.