No one likes the idea of colonoscopies. The preparation, the fasting … that “oh no, my morning coffee” thought!

But consider this: excluding skin cancers, colon cancer is the third most-diagnosed cancer in the United States. It’s very curable when caught early. And March is a good time to remind yourself that it’s time to consider a colonoscopy, since March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month.

According to the American Cancer Society, “When colorectal cancer is found early, before it has spread anywhere, the five-year relative survival rate is 92 percent. This means more than nine out of 10 people with early stage cancer survive at least five years. But if the cancer has had a chance to spread outside the colon or rectum, survival rates are lower. As a result, there are now more than 1 million survivors of colorectal cancer in the United States. Although the overall death rate has continued to drop, deaths from colorectal cancer among people younger than age 55 have increased.”

There are colorectal cancer risk factors that you can mitigate. Proper diet, weight and exercise are strong benefits for avoiding this type of cancer. Limit foods with nitrates, like hot dogs and lunch meats, along with red meats and meats grilled at high temperatures. Also limit heavy alcohol consumption and smoking.

Among the risk factors you cannot change are your age, any personal history of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (not to be confused with Irritable Bowel Syndrome), previous cancers, adenomatous polyps (adenomas), inherited syndromes, family history, Type 2 Diabetes, and racial and ethnic background.

If you live at Ocean Reef and are interested in a colonoscopy, you may want to consider colonoscopy procedures by the Baptist Health Medical Group, performed at Mariners Hospital in Tavernier.

Gastroenterology at the Medical Center

Gastroenterologist Dr. Seth Rosen is one of the Medical Center’s Visiting Specialists. Dr. Rosen is a member of the Gastro Health Group in Miami. He will be seeing patients at the Medical Center on April 2. For more information about Dr. Rosen or to make an appointment, click here.