March is National (U.S.) Colorectal Cancer Awareness month.
This year, Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month comes on the heels of a recent study by the American Cancer Society (ACS) revealing some staggering findings:
- People born in 1990 have double the risk of colon cancer and quadruple the risk of rectal cancer compared to people in 1950
- In 2017, the American Cancer Society estimates 135,430 people will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer and about 50,260 people will die from the disease
These statistics remind us how important SCREENING is, as early stage colorectal cancer is typically both asymptomatic and has a high cure rate. Regular screening for colorectal cancer is generally recommended beginning at age 50, however findings from this study may eventually result in adjusting this guideline to lower the screening age.
The World Health Organization (WHO) released a statement that “each year 8.8 million people die from cancer, mostly in low- and middle-income countries.” The WHO has listed the following steps for early diagnosis in their new Guide to Cancer Early Diagnosis:
- Improve public awareness of different cancer symptoms and encourage people to seek care when these arise.
- Invest in strengthening and equipping health services and training health workers so they can conduct accurate and timely diagnostics.
- Ensure people living with cancer can access safe and effective treatment, including pain relief, without incurring prohibitive personal or financial hardship.