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Why Mammograms Aren’t the Only Cancer Screenings Women Need

It’s October, and that means everyone is wearing pink to support breast cancer awareness.

Of course, women should be aware of breast cancer and its symptoms. But women should also be aware of colon cancer too, because it’s on the rise—particularly among younger women.

If you think that colon cancer only affects older people, that’s understandable—it is a disease that significantly affects people over 50.

However, a recent study found that colorectal cancer rates are up 62 percent among white females under the age of 49 and 50 percent up in the under-55 age group. So, this year, when you wear your pink, put on a little blue too. Colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of cancer death, but with awareness and action, it is preventable.

Toilet Talk

Statistically, women visit their doctor more frequently than men, but that doesn’t mean talking about personal bowel habits is at the top of the topic list.

But women need to know about the risk and the symptoms, so they know when to go to the doctor and have that conversation.

Risk:

  • All women are at average risk of colon cancer at the age of 50.
  • Women with relatives who have been diagnosed with advanced polyps or colon cancer are at greater risk.
  • Women with Lynch syndrome, a cancer that is the result of an inherited genetic mutation, are at even greater risk of colorectal cancer before the age of 50.

Symptoms:

  • A change in bowel habits (increased constipation, diarrhea, or ‘ribbon-like’ narrow stools)
  • Feeling like you need to have a bowel movement, but being unable to do so when you try
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Dark stools or blood in your stool
  • Cramping or abdominal (tummy) pain
  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Unintentional weight loss

The most common colorectal cancer symptom for older Americans? No symptom at all. That’s why screening is so important.

Aged 45 or older? It’s time to get screened.

Breast cancer awareness campaigns have been successful in increasing the number of women who get routine mammograms, but it’s just as important that they get colorectal cancer screenings scheduled and completed by the age of 50—especially because the American Cancer Society recently lowered the recommended age for a first-time colon cancer screening to 45 years old.

Under 45 and experiencing symptoms? It’s time to get screened.

If you have symptoms that concern you, don’t delay. Talk to your doctor and ensure they know colorectal cancer is no longer the disease of the elderly. Don’t ‘die of embarrassment. Get screened.

If you are experiencing symptoms or need to schedule your screening colonoscopy, contact the expert gastroenterology team at the Central Texas Endoscopy Center at (877) 758-3476 or fill out an appointment request form and a team member will contact you soon. At the Central Texas Endoscopy Center, every GI physician is fellowship-trained in gastroenterology, the medical staff is highly specialized in endoscopic procedures, and you will receive the highest quality of care in a comfortable, private setting for a fraction of what hospitals charge for the same outpatient procedure. Get scheduled to get screened today—save your life!

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