March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. Among cancers that affect both men and women, colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States. But, this disease is highly preventable as recommended screening could prevent at least 60% of colorectal cancer-related deaths. To join the fight against colorectal cancer, take the B.L.U.E. pledge.
“B” stands for “Be screened.” Doctors recommend regular screening for those aged 50 to 75. Screening helps by detecting precancerous polyps (abnormal growths) so they can be removed. It also finds cancer early, when treatment can be most effective. Methods of screening include high-sensitivity fecal occult blood test (FOBT), flexible sigmoidoscopy, and colonoscopy.
“L” stands for “Live a healthy lifestyle.”  Pledge to be active for at least 30 minutes per day and maintain a healthy diet with fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Cutting out habits like smoking and limiting alcohol intake also lowers risk of colorectal cancer.
“U” stands for “Understand the facts about colon cancer.” Colon cancer does not discriminate. Young people under 40 are diagnosed with late stage cancer at a higher rate than those over 50. Be an advocate for your health by knowing the signs and symptoms of colon cancer and by working alongside your doctor to manage your well-being.
“E” stands for “Engage others.” Talk to your loved ones about family history of cancer and other gastrointestinal diseases, like inflammatory bowel disease, that may increase risk of colorectal cancer.
Colorectal cancer screening is now covered under most insurance plans. Depending on your insurance plan, you may be able to get screened at no cost to you. Contact your insurance provider to learn more.
By getting screened and raising awareness you can help make colorectal cancer preventable, treatable, and beatable.
To schedule a colonoscopy with one of our gastroenterologists or general surgeons, talk to your primary care provider about a referral.

Kevin Karls, MD
Mustafa Kathawala, MD
Syed Zaidi, MD

General Surgery
Aaron Chalmers, MD, FACS
Brandon Helbling, MD, FACS, FASMBS
Derek Kane, MD, FACS
Gaylord Kavlie, MD, FACS