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North Oaks Health System Supports Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month in March

Colorectal cancer is one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers in the U.S. The good news is that when caught early, colorectal cancer can be cured.

The best way to prevent colorectal cancer is early and regular screening. The American Cancer Society recommends screenings, such as fecal occult blood testing and colonoscopies beginning at age 50. Screening can detect polyps before they become cancerous, and early detection equals higher cure rates.

North Oaks General Surgeon Dorothy Lewis, MD, explains that the signs and symptoms of colorectal cancer may include unexplained weight loss, weakness, fatigue, a change in bowel habits, persistent abdominal discomfort or the presence of blood in the stool.

“The most common risk factor associated with colorectal cancer is age,” Dr. Lewis shares. “At least nine out of 10 people diagnosed with colorectal cancer are older than 50. Early screening may help eliminate this risk factor.”

North Oaks offers the recommended screenings, including the fecal occult blood test that should be done annually, and colonoscopies, which are recommended every 10 years. Talk to your personal health care provider about your potential risk factors (i.e., family history, heritage, diet, and alcohol and tobacco use) and the screenings that may be recommended for you. If you need a provider, call the NOHS Physician Hotline at (985) 230-DOCS [3627].