Raising Awareness About Colon Cancer One Step at a Time

Raising Awareness About Colon Cancer One Step at a Time
I’m not a runner. In high school, I couldn’t even run a seven-minute mile. When I took up jogging in college, I was relieved when I caught bronchial pneumonia at the end of the semester because the instructor excused me from taking the timed run final exam. However, I can walk for miles if I have a destination or a purpose, such as raising awareness about colon cancer. On Feb. 29, I participated in the Colon Cancer Coalition’s Get Your Rear in Gear 5K Run/Walk. The event coincided with Rare Disease Day and the eve of Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. The American Cancer Society predicts 104,610 new cases of colon cancer and 43,340 new cases of rectal cancer in the U.S. in 2020. One in 23 men and one in 25 women are at risk for colorectal cancer in their lifetime. Although colorectal cancer in IBD patients accounts for just 1 to 2 percent of total colorectal cases in the general population, the disease is the cause of 10 to 15 percent of deaths in IBD patients. The Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation lists six risks for developing colorectal cancer. I check off five of the boxes. The first on the list is a diagnosis of ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s colitis. I have the latter. A second risk factor is having an IBD diagnosis of eight to 10 years. I’ve officially had Crohn’s going on 12 years this summer. Another risk is having primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC). I was diagnosed with PSC a decade before Crohn’s. Although my disease is now inactive because of my liver transplant, I have a slim chance of the autoimmune liver disease recurring. A family history of colorecta
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