March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

Staff report

Colorectal cancer is the fourth most common cancer in the United States and the second leading cause of death from cancer. It affects people in all racial and ethnic groups and is most often found in people age 50 and older.

The best way to prevent colorectal cancer is to get screened regularly starting at age 50. There are often no signs or symptoms of colorectal cancer – that’s why it’s so important to get screened.

To increase awareness about the importance of colorectal cancer screening, the Galion City Health Department is proudly participating in Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month.

“There is a five-year survival rate if colorectal cancer is detected early enough, and the only way to detect it is through a screening,” Health Commissioner Trish Factor said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), colorectal cancer accounted for 10 percent of all male and female cancer deaths in Crawford County, from 2009-2013. The American Cancer Society estimated there were 5,430 new colorectal cancer cases in Ohio last year.

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. Everyone can take these healthy steps to help prevent colorectal cancer:

• Get screened regularly starting at age 50. One in three eligible adults do not get screened.

• Quit smoking and stay away from secondhand smoke. Smoking not only increases cancer risk, it increases the chance of recurrence.

• Get active and eat healthy. Lack of exercise and obesity also increase cancer risk.

Dozens of health organizations have committed to increase the nation’s colon screening rate to 80 percent by the year 2018. For more information about “80% by 2018” visit the National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable website.

Staff report