Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer among men and among women in the U.S. It occurs when precancerous polyps in the colon or in the rectum become cancerous. Signs may include rectal bleeding, blood in the stool or change in bowel movements.
Colorectal cancer does not cause symptoms early, which is why routine screening is essential.
As colorectal cancer progresses, there are a number of symptoms or warning signs that can happen, such as:
I feel fine. Why not wait for these symptoms to develop, rather than have a colonoscopy?
If you are having any of the above symptoms, call your gastroenterologist or primary care physician right away. He or she will ask questions about your symptoms and figure out the best diagnostic test for you.
You may be at normal or greater risk for colorectal cancer, based on your age, race, personal medical history and family medical history.
You are considered to be at elevated risk for colorectal cancer if you have a family history of colorectal cancer or polyps, a hereditary polyposis syndrome, Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis. Black individuals are also at elevated risk. Individuals in these groups should talk to their primary care provider or gastroenterologist about the appropriate age to begin colorectal cancer screening.
You are considered average risk for colorectal cancer if you are age 50 or older and have none of these risk factors:
Talk to your doctor about your risk factors and when it is best to start screening.
There are many choices of tests to get screened for colorectal cancer (CRC).
Visit colorectal cancer screening options to learn more. Talk to your primary care provider or gastroenterologist to find out which test is best for you.
Be open and honest about symptoms, concerns and questions. Remember, colorectal cancer screening has been demonstrated to be lifesaving.
No butts about it: Get screened!
Along with getting tested regularly, healthy life choices are usually recommended as the best way to lower your risk of colorectal cancer.
Here’s how you can help lower your risk: