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Understanding Colon and Rectum Cancer: Insights from Charles Bloom, DO

Dr Genord HAP President and CEO Bio
Charles Bloom, DO, FACOEP
HAP Senior Vice President, Chief Medical Officer

HAP is dedicated to educating and supporting its members to ensure they live longer, healthier lives. Emphasizing the critical role of prevention and early detection in combating diseases like colorectal cancer, HAP is actively promoting awareness and proactive health measures this March, recognized as Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. To provide deeper insights, we spoke with Charles Bloom, DO, Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer at HAP, who shared valuable information on the impact of colon and rectum cancer, the importance of screening, and lifestyle factors that can influence risk. Below are Dr. Bloom's insights, incorporating key facts from the CDC:

Q: What are the latest statistics on colon cancer in the United States?

A: "As reported by the CDC, in 2020, the United States saw 126,240 new cases and 51,869 deaths from colon and rectum cancer. This translates to 33 new cases and 13 deaths per 100,000 people, underscoring the significant health challenge posed by this disease."

Q: Why is colorectal cancer screening so important?

A: "Screening is vital for prevention and early detection. It enables the removal of precancerous polyps and the early diagnosis of cancer, significantly improving treatment outcomes. The CDC recommends starting regular screenings at age 45 to effectively reduce the risk of colorectal cancer."

Q: Can lifestyle choices influence the risk of developing colorectal cancer?

A: "Indeed, lifestyle choices have a significant impact on colorectal cancer risk. The CDC and medical experts advocate for regular physical activity, a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, maintaining a healthy weight, and limiting alcohol and tobacco use to lower this risk."

Q: What symptoms should prompt a consultation with a healthcare provider?

A: "The CDC advises that symptoms such as changes in bowel habits, blood in the stool, unexplained abdominal pain, or unexpected weight loss warrant a consultation with a healthcare provider. Early detection is crucial for effective treatment."

Q: Who is at a higher risk for colorectal cancer?

A: "Age is a major risk factor, but individuals with a personal or family history of colorectal cancer or polyps, and those with genetic conditions like FAP or Lynch syndrome, are at an increased risk. High-risk individuals should consult their doctor to determine an appropriate screening schedule."

Q: How can individuals reduce their risk of colorectal cancer?

A: "Following the CDC’s guidance, the most effective risk reduction strategies include adhering to recommended screening schedules starting at age 45 and adopting a healthy lifestyle."

Q: Is there new research on preventing colorectal cancer?

A: "Research is continuously evolving. However, adhering to the CDC's current recommendations for screening and healthy living remains the best strategy for prevention."

During Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month—and throughout the year—HAP's goal is to ensure its Michigan members are well-informed and supported in taking preventive measures against colorectal cancer. Dr. Bloom's insights, grounded in CDC data, highlight the importance of early detection and lifestyle choices in leading longer, healthier lives.

To find out if it's time to get your colon cancer screening, talk to your primary care physician. To locate a doctor in your area, click here.

Categories: Get Involved , Get Healthy