Blog

Get Your Rear in Gear!

Get Your Rear in Gear!

March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, and Pocahontas Community Hospital has a simple message for folks in the Princess County: Get Your Rear In Gear Pocahontas!
     The simple phrase is the slogan behind a national campaign to encourage people of all ages to make sure their loved ones 50 years of age or older (or themselves, if they’ve hit the half-century mark) schedule a colorectal cancer screening.
     Why?
     “Because 7 out of 10 people diagnosed with colorectal cancer had no signs or symptoms,” relayed PCH’s surgery manager Jenny Benna. “Colorectal cancer is often preventable and if detected early, can be treated.”
     Fortunately, that’s something someone can do close to home by scheduling a screening at Pocahontas Community Hospital. It’s a simple outpatient procedure that takes just a couple of hours. Best of all, a colorectal cancer screening does not require a doctor’s order.
     For people 50 or older - or even younger if you have a family history of the disease - any number of symptoms may well indicate you may have colorectal cancer in the early stages. Such symptoms include:
   • Blood in your stool
   • Abdominal pain or cramps that occur often for unknown reasons
   • A change in bowel habits or having stools which are narrower than usual
   • Weight loss for unknown reasons
   • Diarrhea, constipation, or feeling the bowel doesn’t fully empty
   • Constant tiredness
   • Nausea or vomiting
     “If you experience any combination of these systems, schedule an appointment with your doctor,” Benna related. “These symptoms may be caused by an illness or condition other than cancer, but the only way to find out is to see your doctor.”
     Benna stressed that screenings aren’t only important because colorectal cancer is often asymptomatic until it’s greatly advanced. She pointed out that if it’s detected early, colorectal cancer is approximately 90% treatable. Which is especially important, considering it’s the second-leading cause of cancer-related death in Iowa.
     Importantly, colorectal cancer is often entirely preventable. Benna provided some steps people can take to lower their risk.
   • Eat plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, as well as low-fat foods that contain folate and folic acid like leafy green veggies, or simply a supplement with a multivitamin.
   • Exercise at least 20 minutes three to four days a week. Any exercise, such as walking, gardening, or climbing stairs, she pointed out, helps reduce your risk of developing colorectal cancer.
   • Never use tobacco products, drink alcohol in moderation, and stay away from illicit drugs.
     And, of course, Benna wholeheartedly advised colorectal cancer screenings. “Every year, about 140,000 Americans are diagnosed with colorectal cancer, and more than 50,000 people die from it,” she stated. “Because colon cancer first starts with few, if any, symptoms, it is important not to wait for symptoms before having a colonoscopy. It is highly treatable if found in its early stages when treatment can be most effective.”
     And with that information, Benna and Pocahontas Community Hospital hope to help Pocahontas County get it’s rear in gear!
     Colorectal cancer is the 2nd leading cause of cancer-related death among Iowans, but is 90% treatable if detected early. If you’re 50 or older, get your rear in gear and call PCH at (712) 335-5230 to schedule your screening today!