Colorectal cancer is the second most common cause of cancer death in the US, but it doesn’t have to be. With screening, colorectal cancer is one of the most preventable cancers, and is beatable in 90% of cases when detected early.
Colorectal cancer occurs in the colon or rectum. It doesn’t always cause symptoms, especially in early stages. With regular screening, it can often be prevented or found early when it’s small and potentially easier to treat. Overall, colorectal cancer death rates are declining because of increased screening and improvements in treatments. As with many cancers, there are significant disparities in colorectal cancer; Black people have the highest risk of being diagnosed with and dying of this cancer out of all major racial and ethnic groups. Until recently screening was recommended for people starting at age 50, but the number of cases of colorectal cancer in people under 50 has been steadily rising and is expected to almost double by 2030. The American Cancer Society now recommends that men and women start getting screened at age 45, however less than half of people in this age group are getting tested. Regular colorectal cancer screening is one of the most powerful strategies for more effective prevention and treatment of colorectal cancer. When caught early, 90% of colorectal cancer cases are beatable when caught early. When it comes to colorectal screening, you have choices. Talk to your medical provider or click below for a community health center that provides colorectal cancer screening, regardless of insurance coverage, to figure out which options are available for you.
Routine screening for those at average risk of colorectal cancer should begin at age 45. Be aware that screening is something you do when you are healthy – before any symptoms are present. People at increased risk for the disease may need to start screening even earlier and speak with their doctor about when to start screening. People at increased risk include:
There are several effective screening tests for colorectal cancer available, including tests performed at a medical center, and at-home stool tests:
There are steps you can take to reduce your risk for colorectal cancer. It’s important to maintain a healthy diet that is low in red and processed meats and high in fruits, vegetables and whole-grain fiber. A balance between a healthy diet and lifestyle includes:
Even if you take all of these steps to reduce your risk of colorectal cancer, you cannot eliminate the risk entirely. That’s why everyone 45 or older should talk to their medical provider, choose a screening test, and get screened routinely.