Colon and Rectal Cancer Prevention

Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosed in both men and women in the US. The American Cancer Society estimates that there will be more than 97,000 new cases of colon cancer and more than 43,000 new cases of rectal cancer in 2018.

Colorectal cancer is the 2 nd most common cause of cancer death in the United States, approximately 50,000 deaths are expected from colorectal cancer in 2018.

The lifetime risk for the development of colorectal cancer is 4.49% for men and 4.15% for women. This equates to 1 in 22 to 1 in 24 people developing colorectal cancer.

How can you lower the risk for yourself?

  • Don’t ignore symptoms such as rectal bleeding or a change in your bowel habits
    • Last year an article was published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute finding that nearly 1/3 or rectal cancers were being diagnosed under the age of 55. Many patients, especially younger patients often attribute their rectal bleeding to hemorrhoids. We sent a letter to primary care doctors about this concerning issue and what we at Colorectal Health were doing to prevent rectal cancer. Be safe, discuss your symptoms with your primary care doctor or make an appointment to see one of our Colon and Rectal Surgeons who can diagnose the source of the bleeding.
  • Get screened!
    • Colorectal cancer is one of the few cancers that can be prevented. By performing colonoscopy and removing polyps before they can grow into cancer, you can prevent colorectal cancer.
    • Who needs to be screened?
      • For asymptomatic patients without a family history of colorectal cancer, screening usually begins at age 50
      • Patients with a family history may need to start screening earlier, at age 40 or often younger.
    • How do you get a screening colonoscopy?
      • Colorectal Health Northwest has a direct access colonoscopy program that allows patients to schedule a screening colonoscopy without coming in for an office visit. Click here to find out more or contact our office.
      • Or contact your primary care doctor to discuss screening options.
    • Can I get one of those stool tests instead?
      • There are two stool tests available to detect colorectal cancer that you may have heard about: a FIT test and Cologuard. Both tests can detect colorectal cancer, but they DO NOT detect polyps as well as colonoscopy and finding and removing polyps can prevent colorectal cancer.
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