The bad news is many people don’t take advantage of life-saving screenings.
Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the nation, with the mortality rate in Kentucky among the highest, killing nearly 900 people each year. Colon cancer rates in our region are higher than the national average.
Are you at risk?
People with colon polyps or early-stage colon cancer often have no symptoms. For that reason, the American Cancer Society recommends that adults 50 and older should be screened with colonoscopy. Screenings should start at 40 if you have a family history of colon cancer or polyps.
A colonoscopy is a procedure that allows your doctor to look at the inner lining of your colon. It helps find colon polyps, tumors and areas of inflammation or bleeding. During a colonoscopy, tissue samples can be collected and abnormal growths can be taken out.
Risk factors associated with colon cancer include family history, diet low in vegetables, excessive alcohol use, tobacco use, obesity and a sedentary lifestyle. Colon cancer symptoms include rectal bleeding, change in bowel frequency or stool size, unexplained anemia or weight loss, fatigue, persistent abdominal pain and frequent vomiting.
The Incredible Colon
You have the unique opportunity to see what a healthy colon looks like, and how polyps and cancer form, during The Incredible Colon community exhibit 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday, March 26, in the atrium of Doctors Office Building 2 at Baptist Health Paducah.
The Incredible Colon is a 20-foot inflatable, interactive and educational exhibit that provides visitors with an opportunity to learn about colon cancer, including risks, prevention, early detection and treatment. Free screening kits will be available for the first 200 visitors assessed to have high risk for colon cancer.
If you have questions about colon cancer or colonoscopy, phone Baptist Health Line at 270.575.2918.
– Oncologist Charles Winker, MD