Fathers Get Tested, Colon Cancer Isn’t Just a 50+ Disease

Father’s, ask yourself, your brother, your father or even your uncles the following questions!

Have I called my doctor to schedule my annual appointment for the year?

Am I taking my prescribed medication correctly or am I missing doses?

Have I been experiencing pain or noticed any changes in my body and I’ve not gone to get it checked out?

A father and his children
A father walks with his children

As fathers, we are providers to our children. We make sure they receive an education, have food, shelter, clothing and access to healthcare. If our child is hurt, we console them, if they are sick, we send them to the doctor! As a father myself, I want to live to see my seven-year-old daughter, grow up! It’s important to me that I’m there at every major life event, from graduations to marriage and hopefully to experience being a grandfather. However, to ensure this, as men, we must learn to take care of ourselves and making sure our health is in order is major. Did you know that Colon Cancer isn’t just a 50+ disease?

Did you know that colorectal cancer is the second deadliest cancer among both men and women combined in the United States? It’s also the third most common cancer diagnosis in African Americans. This year alone according to the American Cancer Society, it’s estimated that colon cancer and rectal cancer combined will have approximately 149,500 new cases.

Estimated new cases 2021 by sex
Estimated new cases 2021 by sex

Research shows that African Americans have the highest rate of colorectal cancer than any other racial group in the US.

Did you know that colorectal cancer can develop slowly over several years and it can begin as a noncancerous growth? Early detection is key and it plays a major role in whether the patient lives or dies. As we continue to endure this pandemic, screening test are still available to detect the disease at an early and more treatable stage.  Unfortunately, more than 50,000 people die each year from colorectal cancer.

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Estimated deaths 2021 by sex

Last year, the world learned of the untimely death of actor Chadwick Boseman.

Chadwick Boseman
Award Winning Actor, Chadwick Boseman

Stage 4 colon cancer was the cause of his passing at the age of 43.  Colorectal cancer rates are climbing amongst younger individuals under the age of 50, and recently the American Cancer Society now recommends that colorectal screening begin at age 45. However, if you are at a higher risk, you should talk to a physician about starting screening at an earlier age.

Knowing your family history is most important! First-degree relatives that has or had colon cancer previously increases your risk. That includes parents, siblings and children. Also, if you have an inflammatory bowel disease that increases your risk too. Having either of these, doubles your risk in comparison to the average person. Lastly, if you have a first degree relative with colorectal cancer or one that had it before then, you should start getting a colonoscopy at 40 or 10 years younger than the age of your closest relative when they were diagnosed.

What are the symptoms to watch out for?

  • A persistent change in your bowel habits, including diarrhea or constipation or a change in the consistency of your stool
  • Rectal bleeding or blood in your stool
  • Persistent abdominal discomfort, such as cramps, gas or pain
  • A feeling that your bowel doesn’t empty completely
  • Weakness or fatigue
  • Unexplained weight loss

Now fathers, remember to schedule that routine visit, go get that check-up and if you are 45 years old or older, or high risk, schedule your colonoscopy! If you are experiencing any symptoms, have any questions or concerns, please contact your health care provider. Remember, colorectal cancer doesn’t have to be an automatic death sentence.

Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month
March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

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