March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. Among cancers that affect both men and women, colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States. Every year over 140,000 Americans are diagnosed with colorectal cancer and more than 50,000 people die from it each year. The risk of getting colorectal cancer increases with age. More than 90% of cases occur in people who are 50 years old or older. Early detection is vital, over 90% of all cases of colon cancer can be prevented with recommended screening. Despite its high incidence, colon cancer continues to be one of the most detectable and most treatable forms of cancer.
Reduce Your Risk: If you’re 50 or older, getting a screening test for colon cancer could save your life. Here’s how: Colorectal cancer screening tests can find precancerous polyps so they can be removed before they turn into cancer; so colorectal cancer is prevented. Screening tests also can find colorectal cancer early, when treatment often leads to a cure.
Symptoms of Colorectal Cancer: Precancerous polyps and colorectal cancer don’t always cause symptoms, especially at first. Symptoms for Colorectal Cancer may include:
- Blood in or on your stool (bloody bowel movement).
- Stomach pain, aches or cramps that do not go away.
- Unexpected weight loss.
These symptoms may be caused by something other than cancer. If you have any of these symptoms, the only way to know what is causing is to see your physician.
Are you at Increased Risk for Colorectal Cancer; You should begin screening for colorectal cancer soon after turning 50 and then keep getting screened regularly, we recommend every 5 years. Some people are at a higher risk than others for developing colorectal cancer. Having any of these things may increase your risk:
- Inflammatory bowel disease.
- A personal or family history of colorectal polyps or colorectal cancer.
- Genetic syndromes, like familial adenomatous polyposis or hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer (also known as Lynch syndrome).
If you think you may be at high risk for colorectal cancer, talk to your doctor about when and how often to get tested.
Did You Know: The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) now requires all health care insurance plans cover preventative services, including colorectal cancer screening for individuals aged 50 or older, without any cost sharing to the patient. What this means for our patients is that 100% of the allowed amount of your screening colonoscopy should be covered by your insurance carrier. This may or may not include the costs of anesthesia services. Please check with your carrier. AFLAC and other voluntary benefits programs may pay you from getting a colorectal cancer screening. Please check with your carrier or employee benefits department.
Call our office today to schedule your screening colonoscopy!