Discussing life-threatening illnesses can be distressing. Yet, being able to pinpoint and recognize early warning signs aids in early detection which, in many cases, is linked with higher recovery rates. In recognition of March as Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, the health and wellness professionals from Manakai O Malama in Honolulu, HI are here to share some important information on the illness.
A Health & Wellness Center’s Guide to Colorectal Cancer
What Is Colorectal Cancer?
Colorectal cancer affects the colon or rectum and can be contracted by both men and women. While it is highly preventable, it is the second deadliest cancer in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Typically, the disease manifests in the form of small polyps, which can be identified during screenings. Additionally, individuals with the disease may experience bloody stools, persistent stomach pain, and inexplicable weight loss.
What Are Its Risk Factors?
The risk of developing this type of cancer increases with age. The majority of patients (more than 90%) are 50 or older, which is why the CDC recommends regular screenings beginning at this age. People with a family history of the disease and those with inflammatory bowel conditions may also be at greater risk, but medical professionals can discuss these factors with patients to determine appropriate prevention tactics. Like with many types of cancer, poor diet, lack of exercise, and other lifestyle factors such as alcohol and tobacco use may also be risk factors.
What Are Some Current Statistics?
The CDC reports 140,000 Americans are diagnosed with the disease each year, but the American Cancer Society confirms the death rate for the disease has been dropping steadily in recent decades. According to cancer.gov, when the disease is localized —meaning it has not spread beyond the area of the body where it originated — the five-year survival rate is 89%. There are currently more than one million survivors living throughout the U.S.
While treatment for colorectal cancer has become more effective, the most effective prevention method is to receive regular screenings from health care professionals. If you’d like to discuss your risk factors with the health and wellness professionals from Manakai O Malama, schedule an appointment by calling (808) 535-5555 or contact the wellness center online.