Dress in Blue, Raise Awareness
March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. Each year approximately 140,000 new cases of colorectal cancer are diagnosed. This cancer is a disease that can be prevented! We encourage you to learn more about colorectal cancer – signs, symptoms, and ways to prevent the disease – during the month of March. Wear blue on Friday, March 15th to raise awareness and bring visibility to all affected by this disease.
What is colorectal cancer?
Cancer of the colon and rectum is referred to as colorectal cancer. Risk factors for colorectal cancer include people over the age of 50, who smoke, are overweight and don’t exercise. People who drink alcohol in excess, eat a lot of red meat and people with a family history of this cancer are at risk as well.The early stages of colorectal cancer normally don’t show symptoms, however patients in later stages can experience change in bowel habits, bleeding from the rectum, general problems in the abdomen, diarrhea, constipation, unexplained weight loss, exhaustion and vomiting.
How can colorectal cancer be detected early?
There are a number of screenings for colorectal cancer for average risk individuals over the age of 50. These include:
- Colonoscopy every 10 years or a
- Virtual colonoscopy, flexible sigmoidoscopy and double-contrast barium enemas every 5 years, or a
- Fecal occult blood test annually.
Individuals with an increased risk for colorectal cancer may need to follow a different screening schedule. It is important to talk to your healthcare provider to know which screening is best for you.
Colorectal cancer screening tests can find precancerous polyps that can then be removed before they turn into cancer. These tests can also find the cancer in early stages when treatment often leads to a cure.
Indiana University Health Ball Memorial Hospital offers free fecal occult blood tests that can be taken at home and are available anytime. To request this free colorectal screening test, please call 765.741.2938.
What can I do to raise awareness about colorectal cancer?
During March, tell people you want to raise awareness about colorectal cancer. That despite killing over 50,000 people each year, colorectal cancer has a 90% 5 year survival rate when found in its earliest stages. Screening for colorectal cancer can prevent the disease and save lives.
Wear blue and visit any Muncie area Dairy Queen on Friday, March 15 from 4 pm - 6 pm. You may purchase any small blizzard for $1 or a 4 piece chicken strip basket for $3. DQ is going Blue and we hope you will too to raise awareness about colorectal cancer.
If you would like more information about colorectal cancer, you can contact the Indiana University Health Ball Memorial Cancer Center at 765.741.2938.
Becky Butts serves as Coordinator of Community Education at Indiana University Health Ball Memorial Cancer Center. For more information, please visit iuhealth.org/ball-memorial.