Get a Screening
Regular screening, beginning at age 50, is the key to preventing colorectal cancer. If you’re 50 to 75 years old, get screened for colorectal cancer regularly. If you’re younger than 50 and think you may be at high risk of getting colorectal cancer, or if you’re older than 75, ask your doctor if you should be screened.
“I never would have found it early if I hadn’t been screened,” said Robert, a survivor of colorectal cancer (cancer of the colon or rectum).
Since Robert’s dad got colorectal cancer at age 45, when Robert went for his annual checkup, he asked his own doctor about getting screened. He got a screening test called a colonoscopy, a test that can show the whole colon and the best kind of test for Robert because of his family cancer history. The colonoscopy showed he had cancer.
“People tell me that they are scared to get screened, but I think it’s scarier if you have a tumor that the doctor can’t remove,” Robert said. “If I hadn’t been screened, I wouldn’t have been able to see my son go off to college, or enjoy this next chapter of my life with my wife and family.”
- Among cancers that affect both men and women, colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States.
- Every year, about 140,000 people in the United States get colorectal cancer, and more than 50,000 people die of it.
- Risk increases with age. More than 90% of colorectal cancers occur in people who are 50 years old or older.
- Precancerous polyps and colorectal cancer don’t always cause symptoms, especially at first. If you have symptoms, they may include blood in or on the stool, stomach pain that doesn’t go away, or losing weight and you don’t know why. If you have any of these symptoms, see your doctor.
- There are several screening test options. Talk with your doctor about which is right for you.
- Only about two-thirds of adults in the United States are up-to-date with colorectal cancer screening.
To read the full article on the Center's for Disease Control's website, click here.