While green is traditionally associated with March and St. Patrick’s Day, there is another color that has special meaning this month.
In 2000, March was established as National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. The National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable (NCCRT) introduced the Blue Star as the symbol of the fight against colon cancer in 2004.
It’s important to highlight this disease. Colorectal cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In the U.S. in 2010, more than 131,000 people were diagnosed with colorectal cancer and more than 52,000 died from it.
Colorectal cancer affects men and women of all racial and ethnic groups. Nine out of 10 cases occur in people above age 50. In the U.S., it is the third most common form of cancer for men and women.
As the CDC states, at least six out of 10 deaths from colorectal cancer could be prevented with routine screening. Screening tests such as a flexible sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy can detect this cancer early, when treatment works best. Symptoms may include blood in the stool, stomach pain, aches or cramps that don’t go away and weight loss without a known cause. Be sure to let your doctor know if you have any of these symptoms.
Colorectal cancer also can be a serious form of disability that may make it difficult to keep working. If so, you may want to apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits.
The Social Security Administration handles the process of reviewing your Social Security disability application, but you can improve the information you provide by working with an SSDI expert like Allsup.
Even colorectal cancer treatment itself can be debilitating. Chemotherapy, radiation treatment and medications can cause side effects such as fatigue or pain, and can preclude people from working for more than 12 months. It’s crucial to let your doctor know if you are suffering from side effects from cancer treatment so it can be documented. Symptoms can be missed if they are not brought to your doctor’s attention.
To learn if you should apply for SSDI, contact Allsup at (800) 678-3276 or click here.
If you or someone you know falls into an at-risk category, consider a screening test this month. See a doctor regularly if you’re above age 50. And if you’re between 50 and 75 years old, get that colonoscopy!