According to the American Cancer Society, 1 out of every 23 people will develop colorectal cancer during their lifetime.
Dr. Erik Johnson, colorectal surgeon with Aurora BayCare General & Vascular Surgery, participated in a Facebook Live discussion during Colon Cancer Awareness month where he discussed some of the warning signs of colon cancer, treatment options and screening recommendations for individuals in the community.
“Colon cancer is a very common disease – it is the second most common cancer diagnosed in the United States and the third leading cause of cancer death for both men and women,” says Johnson. “It is a very preventable cancer… so there are ways to prevent this type of cancer and that’s why it’s important to get the word out and talk about these things that might be somewhat uncomfortable conversations sometimes.”
Watch the full interview with Johnson here.
The American Cancer Society estimates 104,270 new cases of colon cancer and 45,230 new cases of rectal cancer will be diagnosed in 2021.
While the rate of people being diagnosed with colon or rectal cancer each year has dropped overall since the mid-1980s, there’s more work to be done, says Johnson.
Only two thirds of Americans are up to date with recommended colon cancer screening tests, but early detection can mean the difference between life or death when it relates to colon cancer.
“We are trying to find colon cancer at a very early stage, or even better, finding the pre-cancer growths known as polyps. If we find a polyp, it can be removed to prevent cancer from forming," says Johnson. “Colon cancer can be successfully treated when it is caught early. Diagnosing it at later stages often means a patient faces a more challenging fight.”