According to the American Cancer Society, colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer in the U.S. in both men and women, excluding skin cancers. The good news is its survival rates have improved over the last few decades thanks to increased screening and improved treatment options. To learn more about the prevention and detection of colorectal cancer, take a look at the below FAQs.
Q: Is there anything I can do to prevent colorectal cancer?
A: Although some risk factors for colorectal cancer, such as your age and family history, can’t be altered, several lifestyle changes can be made to help prevent the disease. As with most cancers, maintaining a healthy weight and increasing your physical activity lower your overall risk of colorectal cancer. Studies also recommend avoiding excessive use of alcohol and long-term smoking.
Q: When should I have my first colorectal cancer screening?
A: For most people with no known risk factors for colorectal cancer, screening is suggested starting at the age of 45. If you’re unsure about when to get screened or what test is best for you, talk to your health care provider about your options. Screenings are so important because most people who have early colorectal cancer don’t have any symptoms. Most colorectal cancers begin as a growth called a polyp. With regular screening, most polyps can be found and removed before they have the chance to develop into cancer. Be sure to verify coverage with your insurance provider before your screening.
Q: What are the signs and symptoms of colorectal cancer?
A: With regular screening, our goal is to find and treat colorectal cancer before symptoms occur. However, someone with colorectal cancer might notice a change in bowel habits, blood in the stool, abdominal pain, fatigue and weight loss. Keep in mind these symptoms could be the result of conditions other than colorectal cancer. If you have concerns, it is always best to schedule an appointment with your health care provider.
Screenings save lives. If you’re 45 or older, it’s time to schedule your colonoscopy screening by calling 812.933.5110.