It’s Colorectal Awareness Month

Take Charge of Your Digestive Health with a Colonoscopy

by Kristy Warren – March 20, 2018

If there was a screening test that could drastically decrease your risk for developing the second deadliest cancer in the U.S., would you take it? March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month and UPMC Susquehanna encourages you to be proactive about your colon health.

Nearly 40 percent of Pennsylvanians who should be getting life-saving colorectal screenings are not getting them. Colonoscopies are safe, covered by insurance and very effective because they not only allow physicians to detect cancer early, but actually prevent the growth of cancer by removing pre-cancerous polyps.

For most people, 50 is the age at which doctors recommend a first colonoscopy, but for some, prevention should begin even earlier. Colon cancer rates are rising among those under 50. Knowing your family history, eating a healthy diet and talking to your doctor promptly about any changes in your digestion or bowel habits are important steps in the battle against colon cancer.

According to gastroenterologist Saadullah Khan, MD, of UPMC Susquehanna’s Digestive Disease Center, there’s a lot we can do to protect ourselves:
– Know your family history of digestive disease issues like polyps, colon cancer, and Crohns Disease
– Discuss your best screening age with your doctor and get your screenings on time
– Pay attention to your bowel habits; by keeping track of what’s normal for you, you will be more likely to notice if there’s a sudden change
– Eat colon-friendly foods that are high in natural fiber such as fruits and vegetables
– Avoid highly processed foods and red meats which can increase your colon cancer risk
– Get active for at least 30 minutes each day and maintain a healthy weight
– Don’t smoke
– Know the warning signs of colorectal cancer: rectal bleeding, bloody stools, unexplained weight loss, fatigue, digestive complaints, cramping or abdominal pain, anemia, or changes in bathroom behavior like diarrhea, constipation, or narrow stool

Dr. Khan now sees patients at UPMC Susquehanna Soldiers + Sailors in Wellsboro for a host of digestive disease issues, including digestive and gastrointestinal health problems, colorectal cancer screenings and colon surgery.

For more information about digestive disease, visit

Idea/Concept: Kristy Warren
Videography: Andrew Moore
Video Editing: Andrew Moore
Writing: Kristy Warren
Anchor: Sara Vogt
Correspondent: Rhonda Pearson

Produced by Vogt Media
Funded by UPMC Susquehanna

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