Sheldon, Iowa — March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month.
Sanford Sheldon physician Dr. Ryan Becker says colorectal cancer is the fourth most common cancer in the United States and the second leading cause of death from cancer.
Dr. Becker says the good news, however is that most of the time it is preventable.
He says the best way to prevent colorectal cancer is to get screened regularly starting at age
50. He says there are other tests that can be done as well, and new technology is becoming available that may offer an imaging alternative to the colonoscopy — but it’s not available yet.
He says there are often no signs or symptoms of colorectal cancer – that’s why it’s so
important to get screened.
He says people over age 50 have the highest risk of colorectal cancer. You may also be at higher risk if you are African American, smoke, or have a family history of colorectal cancer.
He says that he has talked with the other physician that does colonoscopies in Sheldon, General Surgeon Dr. Jongewaard about it, and Dr. Jongewaard says in his years at Sanford Sheldon, he has noticed a significant decrease in the number of actual colorectal cancer cases being treated. Dr. Becker contributes much of that to the number of screenings that are being done.
Becker says you can learn more at an appointment with your physician. If you’d like to find information online, he suggests (click on a link to follow):