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Healthy Habits: March marks Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

Healthy Habits: March marks Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month
Published: Mar. 22, 2022 at 7:43 AM EDT
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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month and doctors are urging you to begin regular screenings.

The American Cancer Society says colorectal cancer is the second most common cause of cancer death in the United States between men and women are combined.

Dr. Warqaa Akram, Assistant Professor and Division of Surgical Oncology and Colorectal Surgeon at ECU/Vidant Medical Center says it’s important to get screenings at an earlier age. The American Cancer Society recently lowered the age from 50 to 45 because the rate of colorectal cancer in people younger than 50 is on the rise.

Akram says an earlier screening may be needed for those with a strong family history of colorectal cancer, inflammatory bowel disease like ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease, if certain polyps are present or if there is a history of radiation to the abdomen or pelvis to treat cancer.

There are several test options, including stool-based screenings and visual exams, but the gold standard is a colonoscopy.

Akram says other preventative measures include eating a healthy diet that is low in red and processed meats, exercise, limiting alcohol and quitting smoking.

For more information about colorectal cancer at Vidant Health, including treatments and resources, click here.

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