March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

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RussoAldoB    Dr. Aldo Russo is a gastroenterologist at Ochsner Medical Center’s digestive center and specializes in gastroenterology and internal medicine. 
    Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States. It affects men and women of all racial and ethnic groups. Louisiana ranks first in the nation for deaths from colorectal cancer partially due to late-stage diagnosis and high numbers of uninsured and underinsured residents. Although nine out of 10 adults diagnosed with colorectal cancer are at least age 50, younger adults can also develop colorectal cancer. Regular colorectal screenings based on age and health history can save lives due to these screenings finding precancerous polyps―abnormal growths in the colon or rectum―that can be removed before turning into cancer. 
    People with a history of colorectal cancer in one or more first-degree relatives such as, parents, siblings or children, are at increased risk. The risk is even higher if that relative was diagnosed with cancer when they were younger than 45, or if more than one first-degree relative is affected. Any person with a family history should talk with their doctor about the need to begin screening before age 50. Also, persons who have had pre-cancerous polyps or colorectal cancer should tell close relatives so they can consult with their doctors and start screening at the recommended age. 
    Persons with Type 2 diabetes (usually non-insulin dependent) and/or Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), which includes ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease, also have an increased risk of developing colorectal cancer and should start screenings at an earlier age and be screened on a more frequent basis. Inflammatory bowel disease is different from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), which does not increase your risk for colorectal cancer. Most screenings for persons over the age of 50 occur every five years; however, it is at the discretion of the physician based on the patient’s medical history.
Symptoms of colorectal cancer:
• Blood in or on the stool 
• Stomach pain, aches or cramps that do not go away
• Losing weight with no known reason
    These symptoms can also be a result of other health issues, so it is important to schedule an appointment with a physician immediately to determine if they require further testing.
To make an appointment with Dr. Aldo Russo, call 225-761-5200.