Local agency spreading cancer awareness

By Luke Smith - Healthy Carolinians

Sampson County Partners for Healthy Carolinians would like to increase awareness about the importance of colorectal cancer screenings.

Colorectal cancer is the fourth most common cancer in the United States and the second leading cause of death from cancer. Colorectal cancer affects all racial and ethnic groups and is most often found in people ages 50 and older. The NC Central Cancer Registry projects that 31 people in Sampson County will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer in 2016 and 11 people in Sampson County will die from colorectal cancer in 2016.

People over age 50 have the highest risk of colorectal cancer. You may also be at higher risk if you are African American, smoke, or have a family history of colorectal cancer. Other risk factors can include: colorectal polyps; overweight and obesity; chronic inflammatory conditions of the colon; and Type 2 Diabetes.

While colorectal cancer risk increases with age, lifestyle choices can significantly reduce the overall risk of colorectal cancer. According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, 50 percent of estimated cases of colorectal cancer in the United States are preventable by diet, physical activity and weight management.

The best way to prevent colorectal cancer is to get screened regularly starting at age 50. There are often no signs or symptoms of colorectal cancer – that’s why it’s so important to get screened. If you do experience signs or symptoms, they may include: blood in your stool or rectal bleeding; stomach pain, aches or cramps that do not go away; and unexplained weight loss. It is estimated that 40 out of every 100 deaths from late stage colorectal cancer are preventable if all adults aged 50 and older were routinely screened.

For more information on colorectal cancer, visit http://publichealth.nc.gov/chronicdiseaseandinjury/cancerpreventionandcontrol/index.htm or http://www.cdc.gov/cancer/colorectal/index.htm. For more information about Sampson County Partners for Healthy Carolinians, visit www.scpfhc.org or call 592-1131, ext. 4240.

By Luke Smith

Healthy Carolinians

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