Detecting this early could save your life
If you’ve been putting off going to the doctor and citing the pandemic as your reason for doing so, you could be doing irreversible damage to your health.
“We had a huge drop in preventive care and screenings last year,” explains Dr. Stephanie LaBomascus, oncologist at Aurora Medical Center – Bay Area in Marinette, Wis. “Unfortunately, for many things that would have been treated relatively effectively, we’re seeing more people coming in and going straight to palliative care due to the progression of their illness.”
Colorectal cancer is one such ailment that, when caught in early stages often through routine screenings, has one of the highest estimated survival rates among the different cancers.
Typical symptoms of colorectal cancer include, but are not limited to:
- Unexpected weight loss
- Blood in your stool
- Diarrhea, constipation, or other changes in your bowel habits
- Abdominal pain or cramping
“There are not always symptoms with colorectal cancer, so screenings are of utmost importance to detect early stage disease,” says Dr. LaBomascus. “Recent guidelines have changed and patients as young as 45 are now being considered for routine screening for colorectal cancer. If you have certain risk factors you may even be a candidate for screenings before age 45.”
These risk factors include a family history of colorectal cancer or a personal history of inflammatory bowel disease. Regardless, if you are under the age of 45, Dr. LaBomascus recommends speaking with your doctor to consider your candidacy for early colorectal cancer screening.
You shouldn’t let COVID-19 keep you from seeking the health care you need. Read how Advocate Aurora Health is taking additional steps to keep you safe with its Safe Care Promise.
About the Author
health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Aurora Health sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.