March is Colon or Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, a time when healthcare providers and organizations raise awareness about colon cancer and the importance of early detection. Colon cancer, also known as colorectal cancer, is the third most common cancer in the United States. According to the American Cancer Society’s estimates, there will be approximately 106,970 new cases of colon cancer in the United States in 2023. Fortunately, with early detection and treatment, the survival rates for colon cancer are high. However, many people are not aware of the importance of regular screenings for colon cancer or the symptoms to look out for.
To raise awareness about this disease and encourage people to take action, various activities and events are held to educate people about colon cancer, its causes, symptoms, and prevention. In this article, we will discuss the facts about colon cancer, the importance of screening, the steps you can take to reduce your risk and how remote patient monitoring (RPM) can help.
What is Colon Cancer?
Colon cancer, also known as colorectal cancer, is a type of cancer that begins in the colon or rectum. It usually starts as a small growth called a polyp, which can be noncancerous or cancerous. If left untreated, cancerous polyps can grow and spread to other parts of the body, which can be life-threatening. Symptoms of colon cancer may include:
- Changes in bowel habits
- Blood in the stool
- Abdominal pain or cramping
- Weakness or fatigue
- Unintended weight loss
Who is at Risk for Colon Cancer?
While colon cancer can affect anyone, certain factors may increase your risk. These include:
- Age: The risk of colon cancer increases as you get older, with most cases occurring in people over the age of 50.
- Family history: If you have a close relative (parent, sibling, or child) who has had colon cancer, you are more likely to develop the disease.
- Personal history: If you have had colon cancer in the past, you are at a higher risk of developing it again.
- Inflammatory bowel disease: If you have ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease, you may have an increased risk of developing colon cancer.
- Lifestyle factors: A diet high in red and processed meats, low in fiber, and lack of physical activity can increase your risk of colon cancer.
The Importance of Screening
Screening for colon cancer is important because it can detect the disease at an early stage when it is most treatable. The American Cancer Society recommends that people at average risk of colon cancer start regular screening at age 45. Those at higher risk, such as those with a family history of the disease, may need to start screening earlier or undergo more frequent screenings.
There are several screening options available, including colonoscopy, fecal immunochemical tests (FIT), and stool DNA tests. Your doctor can help you decide which screening method is best for you based on your age, medical history, and other factors.
Steps to Reduce Your Risk
There are steps you can take to reduce your risk of colon cancer. These include:
- Get screened: Regular screening can detect colon cancer early when it is most treatable.
- Maintain a healthy weight: Being overweight or obese can increase your risk of colon cancer. Aim to maintain a healthy weight through a healthy diet and regular exercise.
- Eat a healthy diet: A diet high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains and low in red and processed meats may help reduce your risk of colon cancer.
- Exercise regularly: Aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity most days of the week.
- Limit alcohol consumption: Drinking alcohol in moderation (up to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men) may help reduce your risk of colon cancer.
- Don’t smoke: Smoking can increase your risk of many types of cancer, including colon cancer.
DrKumo Remote Patient Monitoring for Colon Cancer
Remote patient monitoring (RPM) technology is a powerful tool for managing chronic diseases like colon cancer. This technology allows healthcare providers to monitor their patients’ health conditions in real-time, even when the patients are at home. This can help to identify potential health problems before they become more serious, allowing for early intervention and treatment.
DrKumo is a leader in providing RPM technology solutions for a wide range of chronic diseases, including cancer. Our HIPAA-compliant, mobile-enabled, real-time monitoring platform enables healthcare providers to remotely monitor the health conditions of their patients, allowing for timely intervention and improved outcomes.
For patients with colon cancer, RPM can be particularly beneficial. By tracking symptoms such as changes in bowel habits, abdominal pain, and weight loss, healthcare providers can identify when a patient’s condition may be worsening and adjust their treatment plan accordingly. RPM can also help patients to better manage their symptoms and medication, which can improve their quality of life.
One of the benefits of DrKumo RPM is that it allows patients to receive care in the comfort of their own homes, which can be particularly important for those who may have difficulty traveling to appointments or who live in rural areas without easy access to healthcare facilities. RPM can reduce the need for hospitalizations and emergency room visits, which can help to lower healthcare costs and improve patient outcomes.
Colon cancer is a serious disease that can be prevented with early detection and lifestyle changes. During the National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, take the time to learn about your risk of colon cancer and what you can do to reduce your risk. Remember, regular screening is the key to detecting colon cancer early when it is most treatable.
Remote patient monitoring technology is an innovative solution that can help healthcare providers to monitor their patients’ conditions in real-time, improving outcomes and quality of life for those with colon cancer. To know more about RPM, contact us now!