ADA — March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month and many are not aware of the danger of developing this deadly type of cancer. Officials at Valley View Regional Hospital said they want the community to be as informed as possible to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Valley View is offering a “Simply Health” community education program covering colorectal screenings at 6 p.m. Friday in the Valley View classrooms. Dr. William Barrett will discuss colon cancer, colorectal screening options and answer any audience questions over this type of cancer. The program is free but seating is limited. To register call (580) 421-1285.

Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in the nation. This type of cancer often does not display symptoms until it is far advanced and too late to make a recovery. But this type of cancer is also one of the most easily prevented and treated if caught in its early stages. The exact cause of most colorectal cancers is not yet known. However, research has established that approximately 75% of colorectal cancers occur in people with no known risk factors. The only way to detect this cancer at an early stage is by regular colorectal screenings.

Regular colorectal cancer screenings are recommended for both men and women over the age of fifty. If your family has a history of colorectal cancer then you should begin screenings by age 40. Colorectal cancer usually develops from precancerous polyps (abnormal growths) in the colon or rectum. Screenings can detect colon polyps so they can be removed before they turn into cancer. Screenings can also detect the cancer when it is in its earliest stages when treatment is most effective and the chance for full recovery is high.

There are many options for colorectal screenings. Scientific data does not currently suggest that there is a single "best test" for any one person. Each test has advantages and disadvantages. Patients and their doctors are encouraged to discuss the benefits and potential risks associated with each screening option as they decide which test to use and how often the patient should be tested.

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