March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month

Get Screened, Reduce Your Risk and Know the Warning Signs

Although colon cancer is a preventable and curable disease if caught early, it remains the second-leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States. The experts at HSHS St. Clare Regional Surgery Center, located on the campus of HSHS St. Clare Memorial Hospital in Oconto Falls, provide highly-effective screening, prevention and treatment of colon cancer.

The American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons recommends people at an average risk of getting colon cancer receive a colonoscopy annually beginning at age 50. Increased risk patients may need earlier and more frequent screening depending upon recommendation by a health care provider.

People at an increased risk for colon cancer include:
· Those with a personal or family history of colorectal polyps or cancer
· Those with a personal history of breast, uterine or ovarian cancer
· Those with chronic ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease

In addition to regular screening for colon cancer, you may also be able to lower your risk by:
· Avoiding foods high in fat
· Adding plenty of vegetables, fruits and other high-fiber foods to your diet
· Exercising regularly and maintaining a normal body weight
· Not smoking
· Drinking alcohol only in moderation

Warning signs of colon cancer can include:
· Blood in or on the stool
· Recurrent shifts in normal bowel habits such as experiencing diarrhea or constipation for no known reason
· Thinning of the stool
· Increases in stomach discomfort (bloating, gas, fullness and/or cramps that last more than a few days)
· A feeling that the bowel does not empty completely
· Weight loss for no known reason
· Constant and unexplained fatigue

For more information about colon cancer screening, prevention and treatment, call HSHS St. Clare Regional Surgery Center at (920) 965-7411. No referral is needed and Saturday colonoscopy times are available.