Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month: What It's All About

March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. Each year the Colorectal Cancer Alliance picks a theme to help drive awareness about symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment of colorectal cancer. This year’s theme is “Don’t Assume,” which aims to bust the preconceived notions and misconceptions regarding colorectal cancer. Below, we’ll discuss what colorectal cancer is, how it’s treated, and how the Don’t Assume campaign wants to bust myths about colorectal cancer.

What is colorectal cancer?

Colorectal cancer is a type of cancer that begins in the colon or rectum. Most cases of colorectal cancer begin as polyps, or growths, on the inside lining of the colon or rectum that begin to grow into the wall of the colon over time.

The American Cancer Society estimates for the number of colorectal cancer cases in the United States for 2019 are:

  • 101,420 new cases of colon cancer – cancer that originates in the colon

  • 44,180 new cases of rectal cancer – cancer that originates in the rectum

How is colorectal cancer treated?

Your team of specialists will work to create a treatment plan that is both unique to the individual and the stage at which the cancer is diagnosed. Many cases of colorectal cancer can be treated with localized surgery that works to remove only the tumor without harming any of the areas nearby. Your colorectal cancer specialists may also recommend chemotherapy or radiation to fight the cancer.

What is the Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month ‘Don’t Assume’ campaign?

Don’t Assume refers to the dangerous preconceived notions about colorectal cancer that can mean the difference between early detection and your colorectal cancer progressing before it’s diagnosed and treated. The Colorectal Cancer Alliance says: “Don’t assume you’re too young for colorectal cancer. Don’t assume you’re alone. And don’t assume we don’t need your support to end this disease within our lifetime.”

This public awareness campaign aims to contest assumptions and fallacies about colorectal cancer by dismissing inaccuracies, increasing awareness, and connecting people across the country with information and support. It’s important to educate yourself on the disease in order to avoid thinking it can’t happen to you or one of your loved ones. No one is exempt from colorectal cancer, so dispelling myths about the disease the best way to ensure you can detect it early.  

Awareness and innovation have played a major role in early detection for colorectal cancer. The American Cancer Society states that the annual number of deaths caused by colorectal cancer has been dropping in both men and women for several decades. Celebrate Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month by educating yourself on the ins and outs of this disease to protect yourself and your loved ones!