We live in a society where pretty much everything is public knowledge. 24 hours a day, seven days a week we have the ability to learn anything about anyone. This level of TMI has become a natural part of our lives, but somehow that openness disappears when it’s time to talk about potentially uncomfortable, yet natural, things like our health.
Behind Closed Doors
For example, how open is anyone when it comes to talking about bathroom habits? Most of us rightly feel this is an extremely personal aspect of our lives, but there are times when sharing could save your life. One’s bowel habits play an important indicator in overall health, and early stages of colon cancer often show few to no symptoms. When symptoms display themselves, it’s often related to the size of the cancer and its location in the large intestine.
Signs and Symptoms of Colon Cancer
- Change in bowel habits (consistency, diarrhea or constipation) for more than four weeks
- Blood in the stool
- Bleeding from the rectum
- Unexplained weight loss
- Weakness or fatigue
Don’t Explain Away Symptoms
Many of us choose to tough illness out using over-the-counter medicines. Because of chronically busy lifestyles, it often feels easier to stay in the mode of toughing it out, ignoring critical symptoms.
In the case of an early diagnosis for colon cancer, it’s imperative to acknowledge when something is not right. One easy way to stay on top of this is by monitoring bathroom habits and scheduling a colonoscopy. A colonoscopy screening looks for precancerous polyps. Early detection heightens the possibility of finding and removing cancer in a less-advanced state.
Check the Stats
While a colonoscopy is not at the top of most people’s wish list, it is an undeniable way to save lives. Colon cancer is the second-most common cancer, and there are currently more than one million colon cancer survivors in the U.S., according to Colon Cancer Alliance. Considering colon cancer is one of the most preventable cancers, these numbers are a testament to the importance of regular colonoscopy screenings.
In addition to general awareness of health habits, other ways to reduce the risk of colon cancer risk include regular exercise, eating healthy fruits and vegetables and staying at a healthy weight. Knowing your family risk is also important. Those with a sibling, parent or offspring with colon cancer have a 2-3 times greater risk of developing the disease.
This month during Colon Cancer Awareness month, remember your health is in your hands. To learn more about scheduling a potentially life-saving screening, contact the Gastroenterologists at Aspen Mountain Medical Center.
At Aspen Mountain Medical Center, our mission is to be Southwest Wyoming’s number one choice for healthcare. Our 12 unique specialty offerings include anesthesiology, family medicine, gastroenterology, general surgery, and gynecology, internal medicine, orthopaedics, otolaryngology (ENT), pain management, pediatrics, podiatry and spine. Talk to your healthcare provider about scheduling a procedure at Aspen Mountain Medical Center, providing affordable and high-quality healthcare close to home.