#Checkit4Andretti and Save a Life Today | UHSM

March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month! With colorectal cancer being the third most common cancer diagnosis for both men and women in the US, it’s more important than ever to bring awareness to this disease and encourage more people to get checked.

Colon cancer affects people of all ages, diagnosed in people as young as 20. And while it can never be too early, it can be too late to get your screening. Knowing if you have an increased risk can be the first step towards beating this disease; as with most cancers, an earlier diagnosis and prompt treatment can mean better outcomes.

Know the risk factors

Several variables may contribute to a greater risk of getting colon cancer. A significant factor is age; as your age increases, so does the risk. Those 45 and older should consult a doctor about getting screened. A family’s history of colon cancer will significantly increase the chances of colon cancer reappearing.

While risk factors like age and family history can’t be altered or addressed, simple lifestyle changes can lower many other variables that put a person at risk. These risk factors include a poor diet, lack of exercise, smoking, alcohol use, and weight. Knowing your specific risk factors is vital in the prevention and early detection of cancer. Consult your doctor when a colonoscopy is recommended based on your age and risk factors.

When to schedule a screening

The current recommended age to start colon cancer screenings (colonoscopies) is 45, but it is becoming increasingly common to be diagnosed with colon cancer at a younger age. If you have any of the common risk factors, it’s important you start screening earlier. Knowing your personal risk factors and possible symptoms that could lead to being diagnosed with the disease is beneficial. It comes down to the old adage – the earlier, the better, regardless of age. Cancer does not discriminate against age, even if you have no risk factors.

Take action – know yourself, your health and your family history. Be preventative and proactive!

#Checkit4Andretti Foundation

In January 2017, John Andretti of the famed Andretti Autosports and racing family got the news no one ever wants to hear – the results of his colonoscopy came back positive for cancerous polyps. His diagnosis made him face the decision of either fighting the disease privately or announcing it to the public. He decided that, although this diagnosis is devastating, he would use it to bring awareness to the disease, advocating for proper screening and early detection. Thus, the #CheckIt4Andretti movement was born and has continued to save many lives by encouraging others to get colonoscopies.

#Checkit4Andretti can help

WeShare offers resources to members through the #CheckItForAndretti, an organization supported by UHSM Ambassador and John Andretti’s son, Jerett Andretti. The CheckIt4Andretti Charitable Foundation, Inc.’s mission is to save lives by increasing awareness of the importance of screenings in preventing and detecting colorectal cancer. The organization provides funding to high-risk, low-income patients who are uninsured, underinsured or too young for insurance to cover the cost of screening. Its goal is to raise colonoscopy awareness on an international scale to bring an understanding of the preventative nature and ease of the procedure.

We encourage you to share and inform others of colorectal cancer and persuade people to get checked and stay on top of their preventative care. You may save a life!

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