Work your butt off to prevent colon cancer

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Rachael Smith

rsmith585@radford.edu

While it may be the end of the month, I thought writing about Colon Cancer Awareness Month was needed. I feel like it is not advertised as well as Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I believe they are equally important and women supporting breast cancer awareness work extremely hard for donations and spreading the news. But the ugly truth is colon cancer kills 10,000 more people and gets half the federal funding.

Most of you probably didn’t know that colon cancer takes more lives than leukemia and skin cancer combined. It is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths and a life is taken every nine minutes. I think one reason this cancer is not spoken about as much is because it occurs in people over 50 years old.

Ninety percent of cases are found in that older age range and 10 percent are in younger people, but in the past decade those numbers have increased. In 2009, a study published in Science Daily confirmed evidence of increased colon cancer diagnosis in young people. In people from ages 20-49, rates of colon cancer rose from 1992-2005, with 1.5 percent of cases in young men and 1.6 of cases percent in women. This is why we should be informed. This is why we should care- not only for our parents and grandparents, but also for our peers and ourselves.

The good news is that overall rates have been dropping because more people are getting screen tested, but if everyone 50 and older went in to get tested, 60 percent of deaths could be saved. For young adults, we never even think about colon cancer, so to get tested seems unnecessary, especially since doctors don’t usually recommend it.

To prevent colon cancer, there are some things you can try to do and look out for.

First, you should start a diet low in animal fat while also eating lots of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. These sources help your body grow stronger and help fight off other diseases. Doctors have found that leading causes result from obesity and high fast food consumptions. Many young people mistake their symptoms for something else, thinking it could not possibly be cancer. Some of those symptoms are severe abdominal pain, change in bowel habits and dramatic weight loss.

Americans all over the nation have been campaigning, fundraising and simply raising awareness for colon cancer. Many cities participate in The Undy 5000, a walk/5k run that was started by the Colon Cancer Alliance in 2008. This year they have raised $63,343.24, so far. So even though there is not much left of March and April is almost here, support colon cancer awareness and wear blue!