Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

Posted Friday, March 18, 2016

Did You Know? 15 percent of patients are diagnosed before age 50

Rates Seem To Be Increasing For US Adults Under 50 

Since Key Symptoms Are Often Ignored, More Awareness Is Needed Among Young Adults

The rates of new colon and rectal cancer diagnoses have been falling in the United States for people ages 50 and older. But for people under 50, for whom routine screening is not recommended, rates seem to be increasing significantly.  

This resource is intended to help educate patients on colorectal cancer symptoms, diagnosis and reducing your risk.   

01 | Symptoms

Colorectal cancer may not cause symptoms right away,   but there are symptoms to be aware of:   

  • 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 relived by doing so
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Blood in stool, which may make it look dark
  • Cramping or abdominal (belly) pain
  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Unintended weight loss

02 | Diagnosis

If your signs and symptoms indicate that you could have colorectal cancer, your doctor may recommend one or more tests and procedures, including: 

  • Using a scope to examine the inside of your colon:  Colonoscopy uses a long, flexible and slender tube attached to a video camera and monitor to view your entire colon and rectum.
  • Blood tests: No blood test can tell you if you have colon cancer. But your doctor may test your blood for clues about your overall health, such as kidney and liver function tests.

03 | Reduce your risk

Here are ways to help reduce your risk for colorectal cancer:  

  • Get screened for colon cancer. Screenings are tests that look for cancer before signs and symptoms develop
  • Eat lots of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains
  • If you don’t exercise regularly, you have a greater chance of developing colon cancer
  • Watch your weight
  • Don’t smoke and limit alcohol
  • Know your family history
  • Make note of symptoms

As with any cancer, early screening and detection is key to effectively treating the disease. For additional resources on colorectal cancer, please visit:  

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