According to the American Cancer Society, nearly 150,000 Americans are
diagnosed with colon cancer each year, and an estimated 50,000 die from it.
But this doesn’t have to be the case.
Colon Cancer Facts * Starting at age 50, men and women should be screened regularly for colon cancer. Screening tests are not painful, and are often covered by Medicare and health insurance. * Regular screening tests can detect pre-cancerous polyps. Removal of these polyps can prevent cancer from developing. * When detected and treated early, the five-year survival rate is over 90%. * If you have symptoms at any age, it is important to get screened. * Colonoscopy is one of the most effective
screening methods<http://crcawareness.com/crc_getscreened.asp> for finding and removing colon polyps—preventing colon cancer before it starts. Screening Saves Lives Screening saves lives by preventing cancer through detection and removal of pre-cancerous polyps, and by detecting cancer in its earliest, most curable stages. 30,000 lives a year could be saved if everyone over 50 or at risk got screened for colon cancer. Another quick video where Stickman gets the facts! Thanks to everyone who participated in National Dress in Blue Day for Colon Cancer Awareness on Friday! It is great seeing those blue ribbons!
Don’t Put Off Your Health
I don't understand how the test works.
I'll get tested if I start feeling bad.
I'm scared they'll find something.
I'm not old enough to get colon cancer.
Who's at RiskColon cancer can affect anyone—both men and women—and risk increases with age. Some people are at greater risk than others. Some risk factors include:
- Being age 50 or older
- Personal or family history of colorectal polyps, inflammatory bowel disease, ulcerative colitis, or Crohn's Disease
- Personal or family history of colorectal, ovarian, endometrial, breast or other cancers of the GI tract or the female reproductive system
- Being of African-American or Hispanic descent—these groups are often diagnosed at a later stage of the disease
- Experiencing symptoms, as described below
Lifestyle Choices*Additionally, certain lifestyle choices can lead to an increased risk of developing
A diet high in fat can substantially increase the risk for colon cancer—whereas a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains can reduce risk.
Lack of exercise and a sedentary lifestyle, as well as obesity, can increase the risk of colon cancer
The symptoms of colon cancer may resemble other conditions like infections,hemorrhoids and inflammatory bowel disease, so talk to your doctorif you are experiencing any of these symptoms.
- Smoking and Alcohol Use*
Smokers have a 30-40% higher risk of developing colon cancer than non-smokers. Alcohol use in excess can also be a contributor.
What are the Symptoms of Colon Cancer?The most common symptom of colon cancer is having no symptom at all, which is why regular screening is critical.
If you experience any of the following symptoms, speak to your doctor about scheduling a screening, especially if you have a personal or family history of cancer or colon polyps:
- A change in bowel habits such as diarrhea, constipation, or narrowing of the stool that lasts for more than a few days
- Rectal bleeding or blood in the stool
- Cramping or stomach pain
- Feeling bloated or full in the stomach
- Gas pains
- Weakness and fatigue
- Decreased appetite
- Losing weight when you are not trying to
Screen for LifeThe benefits of screening are well-documented and can be life-saving.
- Colon cancer is one cancer that’s 90% preventable with early and regular screening.*
- Screening can stop cancer before it starts by catching polyps before they become cancerous.
Make regular screening part of a healthy lifestyle. Talk to your doctor about getting screened for colon cancer.
- When caught early, colon cancer is more easily treated and can be cured.
Make a Plan for Colon HealthStarting at age 50, make a plan to get screened using one of the following methods:
- Every 10 years: Have a colonoscopy, and have all non-cancerous polyps removed
- Every 5 years: Have a sigmoidoscopy, double-contrast barium enema or CT colonography
- Every year: Have a fecal occult blood test
if you are experiencing symptoms.
If you have a personal or family history of cancer, colorectal polyps, inflammatory bowel disease, breast, uterine, endometrial cancer, or some other cancers of the GI tract or female reproductive system, talk to your doctor about early screening. More frequent testing may be appropriate.
Talking to Your Doctor about Screening is Easier than You ThinkStarting a conversation with your doctor about colon cancer screening may sound uncomfortable, but it’s a conversation that can save your life.
Click here for a list of questions you can print and take with you when you see your physician.
Remember that colon cancer is preventable and easy to treat when detected early. So talk with your healthcare provider about what kind of screening is right for you.
Find a DoctorTo locate a physician in your area, click on any of the links below:
American Gastroenterological Association
American Society of Colon & Rectal Surgeons
American Society of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy
The American College of Gastroenterology
Stop Colon Cancer Now