March is colon cancer awareness month
Colorectal cancer, commonly referred to as colon cancer, is the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States, claiming more lives than either breast or prostate cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, 690 people will be diagnosed with colon cancer in Rhode Island this year, and 210 will die. Nationally, 153,760 will be diagnosed and 52,180 will die. Yet, there's a belief among some women that colon cancer only affects men.
The unfortunate reality is both men and women are at risk for colon cancer. And while men and women are equally affected, African Americans are at increased risk and are more likely to be diagnosed when the disease is at an advanced stage. The American Cancer Society is using March's National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month as an opportunity to inform these groups on the importance of prevention and early detection.
Personal risk for colon cancer varies, so your doctor can help you make informed decisions about when to begin testing and the most appropriate testing method for you. Factors associated with increased risk for colon cancer, as well as information on prevention, early detection, and treatment of the disease, can be found on the American Cancer Society's Web site at www.cancer.org or by calling the Society's National Cancer Information Center at 1-800-ACS-2345.