More than 90% of cases occur in people who are 50 years old or older
The month of March is recognized as “National Colorectal (Colon) Cancer Awareness Month”. Of the cancers that affect men and women, colorectal cancer (cancer of the colon and rectum) is the second leading cancer killer in the United States. Take action! Screenings can help find pre-cancerous polyps, which are abnormal growths in the colon or rectum. These polyps can be removed before they get a chance to turn into cancer. Having regular screenings can also help find colorectal cancer at an earlier stage and treatment during an early stage often leads to a cure.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), every year, about 140,000 people in the US are diagnosed with colorectal cancer and more than 50,000 people die from it. However, about one-third of adults aged 50 or older (Which is the age group at greatest risk of developing colorectal cancer) have not been screened appropriately. The risk of getting colorectal cancer increases with age. More than 90% of cases occur in people who are 50 years old or older. Colorectal cancer screening saves lives, but many people are not being screened according to the national guidelines.
If you are 50 years old or older, get screened now. If you think you may be at higher than average risk for colorectal cancer, talk to your healthcare provider about getting screened early; it could save your life!
Precancerous polyps and colorectal cancer don't always cause symptoms, especially at first. You could have polyps or colorectal cancer and not know it. That is why having a screening test is so important. Symptoms for colorectal cancer may include:
Blood in or on the stool (bowel movement).
Stomach pain, aches, or cramps that do not go away.
Losing weight and you don't know why.
These symptoms may be caused by something other than cancer. If you have any of these symptoms, the only way to know what is causing them is to see your healthcare provider.
There are some steps to help decrease your risk of getting colorectal cancer such as increasing the intensity and amount of your physical activity, avoiding obesity and weight gain around the midsection, and not drinking too much alcohol. You can also lower your colorectal cancer risk by not smoking.
If you think you may be at high risk for colorectal cancer, talk to your healthcare provider about when and how often to get tested.
You can get more information by visiting the CDC website: http://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/colorectalcancerscreening/