March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month
March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, and the Kaiser Permanente Gastroenterology team in the Central Valley is using this time to help remind people of the importance of getting regular colorectal cancer screenings.
“Both men and women are at risk of getting colorectal cancer, but unfortunately only two-thirds of adults in this country are up-to-date with their preventive screening,” said Shelagh Profit, RN, Service Unit Director for GI services in the Central Valley. “Colorectal cancer typically grows slowly, so detecting it early with preventive screenings can help save a lot of lives.”
The most common screening methods are the Fecal Immunochemical Test (FIT), an easy test you can perform at home, or a colonoscopy, generally used for those at greater risk or with a family history of colorectal cancer.
Most Kaiser Permanente members will automatically receive a FIT test in the mail shortly after their 50th birthday, and every year thereafter. If you do not receive the test, you can send a secure message to your primary physician and ask them to send you one.
“Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States — but it doesn’t have to be that way,” Profit said. “Preventive screenings are effective at helping stop cancer while it is still treatable.
More detailed information about Colorectal Cancer can be found on kp.org.