March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. Colorectal Cancer (CRC) is a cancer that occurs in both the large intestine and rectum, which starts as small noncancerous clumps of cells called polyps. According to the CDC, it is the second most common cancer in American Indian/Alaskan Native populations in the United States. It is also the second leading cause of death due to cancer.
CRC affects men and women and are often found in people who are 50 years old or older. Early detection is the key to defeating it and why regular screenings with a trusted healthcare professional is so vital.
Common risk factors of developing CRC include:
Getting screened for CRC to detect precancerous growths is the easiest way to treat and remove them. It is recommended to get screened starting at age 45, or earlier, especially if symptoms are present. These can include blood in or on stool, stomach pains and aches or cramps that don’t go away.
There are three tests that most accurately identify CRC. The first is a colonoscopy, the second a flexible sigmoidoscopy and the last, a stool test. Each test is valuable to being proactive toward your colon health.
Since Colorectal Cancer affects both men and women of all racial and ethnic groups, it is important to make an appointment with your healthcare provider to talk about any potential risk factors. Most insurance providers and Medicare help pay for CRC screenings, so be sure to ask which test may be best for you.
Make a plan to live a healthy lifestyle. Start today!