Colorectal Cancer Awareness

Cancer of the colon or rectum is the third leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 50,000 of the 140,000 Americans diagnosed yearly die from colorectal cancer. Getting screened for colorectal cancer beginning at age 50 can help prevent this disease.

Colorectal cancer most often develops from precancerous polyps (abnormal growths) in the colon or rectum. That is why it is so important to have regular screenings. The polyps can be removed before they turn cancerous. Screening can also find colorectal cancer early when treatment works best.

Besides screenings, the CDC recommends that you stay physically active, maintain a healthy diet and weight, don’t drink excessive amounts of alcohol and don’t smoke. Other risk factors include having inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis. A family history of colorectal cancer or colorectal polyps may also be a risk factor.

Symptoms may include blood in or on the stool (bowel movement), stomach pain, aches, cramps that do not go away or losing weight and not knowing why. You may not see symptoms at first, but you could have polyps or cancer and be unaware.

Colorectal cancer is preventable, so make screening for it a part of your healthcare plan.

Learn more about colorectal cancer awareness from the CDC.