Time to talk about colorectal cancer with Dr. Erin Thackeray from Essentia Health

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March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. It’s the second deadliest cancer, so it’s important to know the signs and symptoms.

Dr. Erin Thackeray, a gastroenterologist from Essentia Health, joined us at WDIO to share more.

“You should know it’s a preventable disease, because we have screening options that can detect it early when it’s most treatable,” she said.

Screening should start at the age of 45, if you are of average risk for colon cancer. That age used to be 50.

“The colonscopy is the gold standard,” Thackeray said. “But there are stool tests, like Cologuard, and CT options as well. The best test is the one that the patient will do.”

As for symptoms, sometimes they don’t show up until it’s more advanced. “Certainly if there is rectal bleeding, abdominal pain, changes in bowel habits, those are things that should prompt an evaluation.”

For numbers, experts expect 150,000 new cases this year, and 50,000 deaths.