As part of “No Shave November,” the Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH) within the Cabinet for Health and Family Services is emphasizing the importance of colon cancer awareness and prevention. The effort is part of the ongoing 52 Weeks of Public Health Campaign.
Colon cancer remains the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the U.S. despite being considered the most easily preventable cancer. Screening and early diagnosis are important for long-term survival, along with healthy lifestyle habits including a healthy diet, regular exercise and avoiding smoking and other forms of tobacco.
“Although screening is the best way to decrease the risk of colon cancer, improving your overall health with a few healthy living style choices will decrease your chances of developing colon cancer,” said Dr. Jeffrey D. Howard, acting DPH commissioner.
Colon cancers often develop from precancerous polyps (abnormal growths) in the colon or rectum. Detection of the pre-cancerous polyps can be found through screenings such as colonoscopy, sigmoidoscopy, barium enema or virtual colonoscopy. Screenings for colon cancer should be done on men and women starting at 45 to 50 years of age and thereafter as deemed necessary by your health care provider and screening results.
Early signs and symptoms of colon may include:
To learn about how you can get screened for colon cancer, visit the Kentucky Colon Cancer Screening Program website.