The Importance of Colorectal Cancer Awareness and Preventative Screening

As we recognize Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month this March, it is important to raise awareness about the prevalence and severity of this disease. Colorectal cancer ranks as the third most common cancer diagnosis in both men and women in the United States. In fact, according to the American Cancer Society (ACS), it is now the leading cause of cancer death in men and the second in women under 50 years old. Given these shocking statistics, there is an increased emphasis on regular screenings for early detection.

Colorectal cancer often develops from precancerous polyps in the colon or rectum. While some individuals may not experience any symptoms in the early stages, others may notice warning signs such as rectal bleeding, changes in bowel habits, abdominal pain or unexplained weight loss. Recognizing these symptoms, discussing them with a health provider and participating in routine screenings can lead to an early diagnosis and improved treatment outcomes.

When asked about the benefits of early detection, Michael A. Goebel, MD, a physician with Hattiesburg Clinic Gastroenterology, said, “Being attentive to subtle signs like persistent abdominal discomfort or unexplained weight loss is crucial. Acting swiftly with early detection methods can significantly increase the odds of successful treatment and a healthier outcome for individuals facing colorectal cancer.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends regular colorectal cancer screening for individuals ages 45 and older, especially those with certain risk factors. According to the ACS, a risk factor is defined as anything that raises an individual’s chances of getting a disease such as cancer. While lifestyle choices like diet, smoking or alcohol use can be changed, a patient’s personal or family medical history is beyond their control. Individuals with a significant personal or family history of colorectal cancer or certain types of polyps, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) or hereditary colorectal cancer syndrome should consider more frequent screening for colorectal cancer, even before the recommended age.

Hattiesburg Clinic Gastroenterology provides diagnostic colonoscopies for patients with a history of gastrointestinal symptoms of disease, polyps or cancer. This procedure is used when patients exhibit specific symptoms that may indicate cancer or other issues, and it is the best way to prevent colorectal cancer early or before it happens. 

“Diagnostic colonoscopies offered at Hattiesburg Clinic Gastroenterology are not just about spotting problems; they are about stopping them in their tracks. By catching potential issues early on, we’re not just treating symptoms—we are preventing colorectal cancer before it becomes a threat,” Dr. Goebel said.

In 90 percent of cases, colon cancer found before symptoms start is curable. Early detection and preventive measures are essential in reducing the risk of colorectal cancer. Additionally, staying informed about personal risk factors and following the recommended screening guidelines can contribute to early detection rates. 

To learn more about colorectal cancer, its risk factors and screening options, visit or contact your primary care physician. For more details about Hattiesburg Clinic Gastroenterology and its services, please visit


About Hattiesburg Clinic Gastroenterology: 

Gastroenterology is a medical specialty that focuses on the gastrointestinal system. Gastroenterologists diagnose, treat and manage conditions of the digestive organs, including the stomach, esophagus, small intestine, colon, rectum, gallbladder, pancreas and liver.

About Hattiesburg Clinic:

Hattiesburg Clinic is Mississippi’s largest privately-owned, multispecialty clinic.  More than 60 years after its beginning, the clinic has grown to over 450 physicians and providers, caring for patients in more than 17 counties in South Mississippi. Along with over 2,500 professional staff employees, these physicians and providers come together for a common purpose, to serve the over 500,000 community members who live and work in South Mississippi every day.