Know Your Risk for Colorectal Cancer
Did you know roughly 40 percent of people over the age of 50 have pre-cancerous polyps in their colon or rectum? Five to ten percent of those polyps will become cancerous if not removed. In both men and women, colorectal cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer and the second leading cause of cancer death.
With knowledge and timely screening we can prevent these cancers and deaths.
About Colorectal Cancer
Colorectal cancer is a cancer that starts in the colon or the rectum. These cancers can also be named colon cancer or rectal cancer, depending on where they start. Colon cancer and rectal cancer are often grouped together because they have many features in common.
People at increased risk for colorectal cancer may need to start screening at an earlier age and get tested more frequently than other people.
Your risk of getting colorectal cancer increases as you get older. More than 90 percent of cases occur in people who are 50 years old or older. Other risk factors include:
- Inflammatory bowel disease such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis
- A personal or family history of colorectal cancer or colorectal polyps
- A genetic syndrome such as familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) or hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer (Lynch syndrome)
- Lifestyle factors, including:
- Lack of regular physical activity
- A diet low in fruit and vegetables
- A low-fiber and high-fat diet
- Overweight and obesity
- Alcohol consumption
- Tobacco use
Overall, colorectal cancer incidence and mortality rates are about 30 to 40 percent higher in men than in women. People with a first-degree relative (parent, sibling, or offspring) who has had colorectal cancer have two to three times the risk of developing the disease compared to individuals with no family history.
Signs & Symptoms
Approximately 5 percent or one in 20, Americans will be diagnosed with cancer of the colon or rectum in their lifetime.
Signs and symptoms of colorectal cancer include:
- A change in bowel habits, such as diarrhea, constipation, or narrowing of the stool, that lasts for more than a few days
- A feeling that you need to have a bowel movement that is not relieved by doing so
- Blood in the stool, which may make it look dark
- Cramping or abdominal (belly) pain
- Rectal bleeding
- Weakness and fatigue
- Unintended weight loss
More than 60 percent of deaths from colorectal cancer could be avoided with screening.
Colorectal cancer is often found after symptoms appear, but most people with early colorectal cancer don’t have symptoms of the disease. This is why it’s important to get the recommended screening tests before any symptoms develop.
- High-sensitivity Fecal Occult Blood Tests: Both polyps and colorectal cancers can bleed, and this test checks for tiny amounts of blood in stool that cannot be seen visually.
- Flexible Sigmoidoscopy: Flexible sigmoidoscopy is a test that a doctor uses to check the inner lining of your rectum and the lower part of your colon. A sigmoidoscope is a long, flexible tube that’s about half an inch in diameter. It has a tiny light and camera. A doctor uses it to view the lining of the rectum and the lower third of the colon.
- Colonoscopy: For this test, the doctor looks at the entire length of the colon and rectum with a colonoscope, a thin, flexible, lighted tube with a small video camera on the end. It is inserted through the anus and into the rectum and the colon. Special instruments can be passed through the colonoscope to biopsy or remove any suspicious-looking areas such as polyps, if needed.
Put the Brakes on Colon Cancer - Take Our Colorectal Cancer Risk Assessment Today!
With colon cancer, 90% of people who treat it early are still enjoying life
after 5 years. By taking our fast and FREE Colorectal Cancer Risk Assessment you will:
- Estimate your personal risk of developing colon and rectal cancer
- Identify your colon and rectal cancer risk factors
- Learn about colorectal cancer screening options and guidelines
- Receive personalized screening recommendations and risk estimates to share with your doctor
Launch Risk Assessment