Certain cancers are still "taboo" to talk about. Colorectal cancers unfortunately fall under this category, which is exactly why it's necessary to discuss them more- especially during March, Colorectal cancer awareness month. Read more below.
1. Young people get it, too.
More often than not, Colorectal cancers are associated with older patients. It’s known as the “old person's disease”. Not only is this stigma inaccurate (patients younger and younger are receiving diagnoses), but it can be the difference between saving a younger patient’s life.
If you’re a doctor, family member, friend, or are introduced to a young person with this type of cancer, think carefully before you mention their age. Even if the person suspects they may have this cancer, giving them the “you’re too young” line dismisses them and can discourage them from looking further into testing or even talking about it altogether.
2. Put Pride Aside & Get a Colonoscopy.
There’s no way to sugar coat these tests. It makes people nervous, but that shouldn’t stop you from getting one ever. They can be very simple procedures. Even if your doctors are reluctant to take this step, it’s important. And even if the colonoscopy fails to show anything, early detection is key. Be vigilant about screening and your options!
Colon screening is so important because it’s proven to be so effective. People are hesitant to talk about the subject of bowel movements, but the tests for colorectal cancer are among the best for early tumor detection.
3. Listen to your body.
Partly because of the stigmas placed on Colorectal cancers, you should especially not rely on the opinions of your peers. All of the stigmas should make you want to trust your own body more so. In addition, everyone’s case is different. Your medical team isn’t with you every second of each day- no one is but you. They only know how you’re feeling according to what you decide to share with them. Really paying attention to the changes your body undergoes, whether big or small, is key in prevention. Common symptoms of Colorectal cancers include abdominal pain and rectal bleeding.
4. Know Your Family’s Cancer History.
There is a hereditary cancer syndrome called Lynch Syndrome which is passed down in families and increases the risk of certain cancers, but particularly those of the Colorectal type. Each child of someone with Lynch Syndrome has a 50% chance of inheriting the genetic mutation from a parent. This can also lead to multiple cancer type diagnoses for the same person. Knowing you have Lynch syndrome alone can change your decision of whether to undergo certain surgeries at all, such as resections.
If you’re a survivor of Colorectal Cancer, what is one thing you want others to know about your fight? Share your story in the comments below!