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(Guest Post via Thiru V. Lakshman, MD)

As a colorectal surgeon, March is an important and exciting time for me (and not just because of March Madness). This is because March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, and it is a great opportunity to educate our community and the public in general about the very prevalent but preventable disease known as colorectal cancer.

Each year, approximately 150,000 people are diagnosed with colon or rectal cancer, and over 50,000 of those people will die from the disease. Colorectal cancer is extremely preventable if colon polyps that lead to the cancer are detected and removed (via colonoscopy or surgery), and it is very curable if the cancer is detected in its early stages. Since there are very few symptoms associated with colorectal cancer, regular screening is essential. If colorectal cancers are diagnosed at later stages, the prognosis and survival rates significantly worsen.

In order to decrease your risk of developing colorectal cancer, the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons recommends:

  • Get regular colorectal cancer screenings after age 50. Between 80-90% of colorectal cancer patients are restored to normal health if their cancer is detected and treated in the earliest stages.
  • Eat a low-fat, high-fiber diet.
  • If you use alcohol, drink only in moderation. If you use tobacco, quit. If you don’t use tobacco, don’t start. Alcohol and tobacco in combination are linked to colorectal cancer and other gastrointestinal cancers.
  • Exercise for at least 20 minutes three to four days each week.

To learn more, visit the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons website at www.fascrs.org or speak with your colorectal surgeon or primary healthcare provider.

Together let’s flush colorectal cancer down the toilet!

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