Colorectal cancer screening may not be your favorite topic, in fact, it is probably not even on your mind–but it should be. Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States and not just in people over 50 years old.1 Ten percent of new colon cancer patients are under 50.2
The good news is with early detection, colorectal cancer can be effectively treated more than 90% of the time. However, only one in three adults are getting the recommended screening. Most insurance providers cover the cost of preventative screening, so if you are 50-75 years old or at high risk talk to your doctor about screening options today.
Colorectal cancer starts with polyps that can take as many as 10-15 years to turn into cancer, often with no symptoms. However, cancer can be prevented if the polyps are found early and removed.
Risk factors for colorectal cancer include being overweight, eating a diet high in red and processed meats, smoking and alcohol use. A family history of colorectal cancer also increases your risk, and means that early screening is best.
If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, see your doctor right away:
- Rectal bleeding
- Weight loss for no known reason
- Weakness or fatigue
- Nausea or vomiting
- Diarrhea, constipation or narrower stools than usual
- Bowel never feels empty
- Blood in your stool (bright red or very dark)
- Persistent cramps, gas, pain, or feeling full or bloated