Dignity Health Central Coast, which includes Marian Medical Center in Santa Maria, is recognizing National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month this month.
Dignity Health is urging community members not to delay routine colon screenings because of the pandemic. More than 75 percent of colon and rectal cancers occur in individuals with no known risk factors, and they often begin with no symptoms.
Dignity Health encourages a proactive approach to intercepting this cancer in its earliest stages with regular screenings and the resources necessary to make informed health care decisions.
A colonoscopy screening is the only test available to detect and at the same time remove colon polyps. This is important because most colorectal cancers begin as benign polyps, Dignity Health noted in a news release. Both men and women are equally at risk for colon cancer, and the risk of developing colorectal cancer increases with age.
Screening tests for colorectal cancer should begin soon after turning 45 and continue at regular intervals or at the recommendation of a physician, Dignity Health noted.
Although colorectal cancer is most common among people 50 and older, recent data shows that 10.5% of colorectal cancers occur in people between ages 45 and 49. The majority of colon cancers appear in individuals with no known risk factors, which is why regular screenings are important.
For more information, call oncology Nurse Navigator Carol Lowe at 805-346-3463.
— Gerry Fall