GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – Local hospitals are offering information to help people in preventing and detecting colon cancer.

As a way to bring awareness, they ask people to wear the color blue for National Dress in Blue Day Friday, March 5.

According to a release, even though colon cancer is a preventable and curable disease if caught early, it remains the second-leading cause of cancer deaths in men and women in the United States.

Because of this, HSHS St. Vincent, St. Mary’s, St. Nicholas, St. Clare Memorial Hospitals, and Prevea Health have compiled lists of helpful information.

In addition, the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons recommends people at average risk of getting colon cancer should receive a colonoscopy beginning at age 50.

Increased risk patients may need earlier and more frequent screening depending upon recommendation by a health care provider.

People at an increased risk for colon cancer include:

  • Those with a personal or family history of colorectal polyps or cancer
  • Those with a personal history of breast, uterine or ovarian cancer
  • Those with chronic ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease

In addition to regular screening for colon cancer, you may also be able to lower your risk by:

  • Avoiding foods high in fat
  • Adding plenty of vegetables, fruits, and other high-fiber foods to your diet
  • Exercising regularly and maintaining a normal body weight
  • Not smoking
  • Drinking alcohol only in moderation

Warning signs of colon cancer can include:

  • Blood in or on the stool
  • Recurrent shifts in normal bowel habits such as experiencing diarrhea or constipation for no known reason
  • Thinning of the stool
  • Increases in stomach discomfort (bloating, gas, fullness, and/or cramps that last more than a few days)
  • A feeling that the bowel does not empty completely
  • Weight loss for no known reason
  • Constant and unexplained fatigue

“The earlier we can spot any signs of colon cancer that may be present or in its pre-cancerous stages, the better chance we have of eliminating it and keeping you healthy and safe,” says Dr. Marla Wolfert, gastroenterologist at Prevea Health.

She goes on to urge people to still get checked during the pandemic and assures everyone the Prevea Digestive Health team will create a safe environment.

For more information about colon cancer screening, prevention, and treatment, click here.