LEXINGTON, S.C. — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says cancer is the second-leading cause of death. But there is one cancer that's among the most preventable: colorectal cancer:
"Colorectal cancer is obviously a major problem in our health and in our society."
March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month and colon cancer is the second most common cause of cancer death in both men and women combined.
Dr. Nick Limperos is a surgeon with Lexington Medical Center says there are several contributing factors to why colon cancer is an issue in South Carolina.
"We don't realize how much our day in and day out choices do impact our lifelong heath, including too much red meat in the diet, use of alcohol and cigarettes and other factors that just contribute to overall poor health and poor colon health," Limperos.
So, what are some of the symptoms you should look out for?
"Watching for things like changes in your bowel habits, diarrhea, constipation, blood in your stool, thinning of the stools, increased in abdominal cramping, bloating, these all can be early signs of colon rectal cancer that most of us would typically blow off on a daily life or not really think they were that significant," he says.
Limperos says people need to check into getting screened. Most people think you're not supposed to get a colonoscopy until you're 50, but he believes you should get checked out when you're 45.
"I think one of the things that makes colon cancer so unique is that if properly screened for, a lot of times we can catch colon cancer before it's even cancer," Limperos says.
Besides getting a colonoscopy, there are other less invasive methods to getting screened. Those include DMA testing and CT colonoscopies.
While some of these conversations may be uncomfortable to have with your doctor, it's important to bring it up.
"Talk to your family, talk to your physician, talk to the people that you rely on for help. if you need help, reach out. this is colon cancer awareness month in march. be aware and take control of your own health."