March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

Colorectal Cancer, the third most common cancer among both men and women in the United States, may be prevented by regular screenings.1 Regular screening is the most effective way of detecting colorectal cancer and when found early, it is highly treatable. Ninety percent of all individuals diagnosed with colorectal cancer at an early stage are still alive 5 years later.2

Colorectal cancer begins as a growth, known as a polyp. Polyps may take 10 to 15 years to become cancer. If the polyp is detected during the screening process, the entire polyp is removed, stopping it from becoming cancerous. Studies show that more than 1 in 3 adults age 50 and older are not getting tested as recommended. 3

Risk factors for developing colorectal cancer include the following:

  • Age-Colorectal cancer is more common in people over the age of 50

  • Personal and Family History- People who have a parent, sibling or child with colorectal cancer are at a higher risk of developing it themselves

  • Race-African American men and women are at higher risk

  • Inflammatory bowel disease- People with IBD (which includes ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease) are at a higher risk

  • Lifestyle-Being overweight, having a sedentary lifestyle, a diet high in red meat and processed meat, smoking, and heavy alcohol use can increase colorectal cancer risk

A colonoscopy is considered the best screening method available. Other screening methods also exist. The American Cancer Society recommends:

  • Colonoscopy every 10 years

  • Flexible sigmoidoscopy every 5 years

  • CT colonography (virtual colonoscopy) every 5 years

  • Fecal occult blood test (FOBT) every year

  • Fecal immunochemical test (FIT) every year

  • Stool DNA test (Cologuard) every 3 years

  • Double-contrast barium enema every 5 years

At FHCP, this preventive screening is a covered benefit and most times can be conveniently scheduled in your Primary Care Physician office. Please call your PCP today to schedule your screening.

1American Cancer Society. Cancer Facts and Figures 2017. Atlanta: American Cancer Society; 2017. 2Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Colorectal Cancer Control Program: About the program. Published August 17, 2016. Accessed December 2016. https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/crccp/about.htm. 3American Cancer Society. Cancer Prevention & Early Detection Facts & Figures 2015-2016. 2016 Update. Atlanta: American Cancer Society; 2016.

Categories: Awareness