Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month is just around the corner, and a local doctor is sharing a few ways to stay proactive.

Local colorectal surgeon Dr. Rolando Saenz said both men and women should begin screening at the age of 50.

“Lack of education, lack of resources meaning funding, many times they are seeing primary care doctors that are trying to take care of their medical problems, diabetes, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, their morbid obesity, so something like a screen exam kind of gets pushed to the back,” Saenz said.

According to statistics from the US Mortality Files, National Center for Health Statistics and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 258,000 people died from colorectal cancers between 2010 and 2014.

And while screening can help detect and remove precancerous growths, Saenz said there are other things you can do, too.

“Diet, exercise, make sure that you get plenty of fiber 25 to 35 grams of fiber daily, but by far the colonoscopy is the most important thing,” Saenz said.

Here are some facts and figures for from the American Cancer Society:

Here are five things you can do to support the 80% by 2018 initiative:

  1. Partner with neighborhood organizations, physicians, hospitals, and local public health officials to make the initiative a communitywide goal.
  2. Learn your community’s colorectal cancer screening rate, and set a goal for improvement.
  3. Leverage local dignitaries/leaders, such as the mayor, a local news anchor, or a respected religious leader, to communicate with those in your community who are less likely to get screened and those who have a higher risk of colorectal cancer
  4. Designate relevant spokespeople.
  5. Commit to educating your community on colorectal cancer screening options, reimbursements and local resources.