Wellness Matters

Colorectal Cancer Prevention Should Include Regular Screenings

April 22, 2015

It’s the third most common and the second leading cause of cancer deaths, yet colorectal cancer is highly preventable. Every year 140,000 Americans are diagnosed with, and more than 50,000 people die from colorectal cancer. Colorectal cancer includes cancer of the colon or the rectum.
 
Incidents of colorectal cancer increase with age, but symptoms, especially early indicators, are rare. If symptoms are present, they can include:

  • Blood in or on the stool (bowel movement).
  • Stomach pain, aches, or cramps that do not go away.
  • Unexplained weight loss.
Because these symptoms can be signs of other issues, it’s critical that you see your doctor if you have any of the above symptoms. 

Remaining physically active, maintaining a healthy weight, limiting alcohol consumption, and quitting or not starting smoking are the keys to lowering colorectal cancer. But screenings for precancerous polyps, especially if you are ages 50-75, are the greatest deterrent to colorectal cancer. The types of screenings and their frequency, include:
  •  Colonoscopy - every 10 years.
  • High-sensitivity fecal occult blood test (FOBT), stool test, or fecal immunochemical test - every year.
  • Sigmoidoscopy - every five years, with FOBT every three years.
Cone Health has an exceptional network of primary care physicians and gastroenterologists who are dedicated to educating the community about the importance of colorectal cancer screening and making sure people get colonoscopies within the recommended time frame.

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