Colon Cancer Screening Saves Lives

Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosed in both men and women. As we celebrate Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month in March, learn about the signs of colon cancer and the screening tools that are vital for early detection.

Recognizing the Signs:

Understanding the early signs of colorectal cancer is the first step towards a proactive approach to health. Symptoms such as persistent changes in bowel habits, blood in the stool, abdominal discomfort, unexplained weight loss, and fatigue should not be ignored. While these symptoms can indicate various conditions, consulting with a healthcare professional promptly is essential for accurate diagnosis and timely intervention.

Diverse Screening Tools are Available:

Regular screenings contribute significantly to the early detection of colorectal issues, increasing the chances of successful treatment and reducing mortality rates. It’s essential for individuals to take charge of their health by discussing screening options with healthcare providers, ensuring that a personalized and effective preventive plan is in place.

Colonoscopies stand out as the gold standard for colorectal cancer screenings. Not only do colonoscopies detect potential cancerous growths, but they also enable the removal of precancerous polyps, serving as both a diagnostic and preventative measure. It is generally recommended to commence regular colonoscopies at the age of 45, though individuals with a family history may need to start earlier.

While colonoscopies are widely acknowledged as the best option, there are alternative screening tools to accommodate individual preferences and health considerations. Fecal occult blood tests (FOBT), fecal immunochemical tests (FIT), and sigmoidoscopies are among the options available. These screenings can help identify abnormalities and provide an early indication of colorectal health issues. Consulting with a healthcare provider can help determine the most suitable screening method based on individual health history and risk factors.

Help from the Caroline Health Department:

The Caroline County Health Department offers no cost colon cancer screenings to individuals who qualify. To be eligible, you must meet income guidelines, be a resident of Caroline County, and be between the ages of 45 and 75. People under age 45 may be eligible if they are symptomatic or have a family history of colorectal cancer. Eligible individuals may be uninsured, underinsured, or insured.

The Health Department also provides referral and navigation services to all Caroline County residents, regardless of income, to help them access important cancer screenings.

For more information, call (410) 479-8080.