Colorectal cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer deaths in the United States. Yet a high percentage of colorectal cancer could be avoided if people over the age of 50 had a simple screening test called a colonoscopy.
Colorectal cancer usually starts as small benign growths called polyps. Finding and removing small polyps early can actually prevent colorectal cancer. If cancer is already present, finding the cancer early makes the chance for a cure much higher.
Everyone is at some risk for colorectal cancer. It affects men and women equally. In early stages of colorectal cancer, there are often no symptoms, so regular screening is important. Colorectal cancer is most curable when it is found BEFORE it causes symptoms. The primary risk factor is age. More than 90 percent of colorectal cancer cases are in people over the age of 50. That’s why everyone should be screened at 50 if they haven’t already done so.
You are at Higher Risk and May Need Sreening Earlier If:
When Symptoms Do Occur, They Might Include:
It’s important to remember that the above may be symptomatic of colorectal cancer, but these same symptoms can be caused by other medical conditions as well.
Preventive Screening Recommendations:
Men and women age 50 and older should be screened for Colorectal cancer:
Those identified at higher risk for colorectal cancer, or with a family history of the disease, may need to have these tests done earlier and more often. In addition to regular screenings, studies have shown that increasing physical activity, eating a healthy diet, and maintaining a healthy weight may decrease the risk for colorectal cancer.
There is no good reason to avoid a colonoscopy. Schedule yours today (and encourage your loved ones to do the same).