When people think of colorectal diseases, people think of disposable colostomy bags, bed confinement, and surgeries. The imaginary patients they think of are also most likely older folks. However, young people are also at risk and need to take the same precautions as their older peers.
Hearing your doctor say they need to put a disposable sigmoidoscope or colonoscope in your body can be frightening. But once you learn why they’re needed, you’ll be glad to sign up for these procedures.
No Such Thing as Too Early
Early colorectal screening is key to detecting cancer. Doctors perform colonoscopies to track your entire colon, and sigmoidoscopies to observe the lower half of the large intestine.
Another option is to have stool-based tests. These include highly sensitive fecal immunochemical test (FIT) and guaiac-based fecal occult blood test (gFOBT), which can be performed once a year, and a multi-targeted stool DNA test (MT-sDNA) that can be done every three years.
Colorectal Health Affects Your Overall Health
Have you ever had days ruined because your colon wasn’t cooperating? Colon health can make or break your day in more ways than you can imagine.
The colon handles a lot of important bodily functions. Also known as the large intestine and large bowel, the organ is the end part of the digestive tract. Once the body extracts all nutrients from the food we eat, the waste is processed and then passed into the colon. Bacteria in the colon helps break this waste until it is pushed out of the body via the rectum. You can imagine why keeping this organ healthy is important for your health.
When something goes wrong in your body, it usually results in debilitating diseases. Something as simple as appendicitis and celiac disease can cause a life-threatening medical emergency. Serious conditions such as colorectal cancer and Crohn’s disease can lead to a lower quality of life or, in extreme cases, death.
Colorectal Disease Can Strike at All Ages
The risk of colorectal cancer increases with age. The correlation between age and the disease among patients aged 50 and up reflects that—about 91 percent of detected cases occur in this age range. That doesn’t mean young people are totally risk-free. In fact, the American Cancer Society discovered that the disease was on the rise among people in their early 20’s and mid-30’s.
Colorectal diseases are preventable with early detection and a healthy lifestyle. In the event that you or your loved ones develop a colorectal disease, you can find a number of organizations that support patients.
Fight Colorectal Cancer is an advocacy and research group. Members share stories from their own recovery journey or their loved ones’ to spread awareness, raise funding grants for studies, and advocate for changes in medical policies. Colon Cancer Coalition drives awareness campaigns to encourage more people to undergo screening for colon cancer.
Lastly, there are dozens of patient testimonies from patients who overcame colon cancer. A doctor of one such survivor relayed the full life his patient had after successful cancer treatment. They remind us that, with good support and proper treatment, colorectal diseases are a fight you and your loved ones can win.