National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month/Poison Prevention Awareness Month

April 16, 2020 / 5 mins read

Colorectal cancer is one of the most preventable and treatable cancers if it’s detected early but, sadly, one in every three Americans does not get screened. Colorectal cancer is currently the second leading cause of cancer deaths in U.S. men and women combined. In fact, nearly 35% of the approximately 145,000 new cases each year will likely result in death. Yet while a healthy diet and exercise may help prevent developing such cancer, there is one thing that can prevent over half of the deaths: colorectal cancer screening.

Many people may believe that since they have no family history of cancer, there’s no need to undergo screening. But unlike many other forms of cancer, only a very small percentage of colorectal cancers are associated with inherited genes. Individuals having a family history possess more risk in development and, therefore, screening should begin before age 45, while those without such profiles should still undergo screening from the age of 45.

Traditionally, screening consists of a colonoscopy. A colonoscopy, though tried and true, may sound potentially uncomfortable to some. The use of the thin tube to check for polyps in the colon is usually relatively painless—and often completed before the patient is aware that it has been conducted. But there are other ways in which to screen for colorectal cancer. If you’re anxious about a colonoscopy, talk with us about alternative screening methods.

Poisoning is preventable

Poisoning can happen in a surprising number of ways when you come into contact, intentionally or unintentionally, with a wide variety of chemicals and compounds. Medicines, cleaners, and many other household products can all be dangerous when used improperly, so it’s important to read all instructions and handle all potentially-harmful products carefully.

Here are some prevention tips to help keep you and your loved ones safe:

Drugs and Medicines

  • Only take prescription medications that are prescribed to you by a healthcare professional. Misusing or abusing prescription or over-the-counter medications is not a “safe” alternative to illicit substance abuse.
  • Never take larger or more frequent doses of your medications, particularly prescription pain medications, to try to get faster or more powerful effects.
  • Never share or sell your prescription drugs. Keep all prescription medicines (especially prescription painkillers, such as those containing methadone, hydrocodone, or oxycodone), over-the-counter medicines (including pain or fever relievers and cough and cold medicines), vitamins and herbals in a safe place that can only be reached by people who take or give them.
  • Follow directions on the label when you give or take medicines. Read all warning labels. Some medicines cannot be taken safely when you take other medicines or drink alcohol.
  • Turn on a light when you give or take medicines at night so that you know you have the correct amount of the right medicine.
  • Keep medicines in their original bottles or containers.
  • Monitor the use of medicines prescribed for children and teenagers, such as medicines for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
  • Dispose of unused, unneeded, or expired prescription drugs.

Household Chemicals

  • Always read the label before using a product that may be poisonous.
  • Keep chemical products in their original bottles or containers. Do not use food containers such as cups, bottles, or jars to store chemical products such as cleaning solutions or beauty products.
  • Never mix household products together. For example, mixing bleach and ammonia can result in toxic gases.
  • Wear protective clothing (gloves, long sleeves, long pants, socks, shoes) if you spray pesticides or other chemicals.
  • Turn on the fan and open windows when using chemical products such as household cleaners.

As we all continue to address the current coronavirus pandemic challenge, remember that there continues to be other health threats out there. Please stay aware and safe and if you have any questions about your health, please don’t hesitate to seek the help of the healthcare professionals here at Community Health Connections.